TPP's Anti-China Focus Bad for Chile, Experts Warn
October 1, 2013 • 2:13PM

Chilean trade and economic experts who are working with the New Majority campaign of Presidential candidate, and former President, Michelle Bachelet are warning that automatic acceptance of the thuggish terms of the Obama administration's Trans-Pacific Alliance (TPP) could negatively impact Chile, particularly given the TPP's "hostility toward China," one of Chile's most important trading partners, with whom it already has a long-standing free trade agreement.

Chilean President Bachelet with Obama.

Marcos Robledo, a foreign policy expert now working with the Bachelet campaign—Presidential elections are Nov. 17—warned in a Sept. 7 interview with Diario Financiero that Chile must pay attention to the fact that in China and Asia, "the TPP is seen as an initiative relatively hostile to China... this is a dimension that must be analysed very carefully, from a regional standpoint," he said, especially by those Ibero-American nations located in the Pacific region. China is a major purchaser of Chilean copper and agricultural products. "We have to build positive relations and cooperation with all the actors [in this negotiation]," he said, "not just with some."

In an article published in Peru's Caretas magazine, Chile's former TPP negotiator Rodrigo Contreras, who resigned his post last year over disagreements with the TPP focus, implicitly addressed the Obama administration's thuggish attempts to impose the TPP's unbridled free-trade agenda, whose trade norms, Robledo pointed out in a separate interview, go well beyond what even the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Chile's own free trade agreements demand. Automatic acceptance of an economic model conceived on the basis of what the Obama administration wants, "could become a threat to our country," Contreras warned.

Contreras also made the obvious point that under conditions of global financial upheaval, all the countries involved in the TPP will clearly be "exposed to the effects of an eventual economic crisis." Given that reality, "it makes no sense to further liberalize [speculative] capital flows, depriving us of legitimate tools to protect our economic stability." In resigning his post as TPP negotiator last year, Contreras cited concerns that the TPP would restrict Chile's ability to shape public policies, control financial institutions, and address issues of health, education and economic development.