SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile’s congress voted to approve the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade deal on Tuesday after four years of legislative debate.
Twenty-seven senators voted for the world’s largest copper producer to join the 11-country trade deal while 10 voted against and one senator abstained.
The government had said the CPTPP was not part of its program and it would not promote or hinder its passage. The trade deal had become a source of political debate, and protesters against the CPTPP gathered outside the Senate building on Tuesday to oppose the deal.
As of Tuesday, the agreement can be enacted by President Gabriel Boric, but it will be delayed because the president sent a series of side letters to 10 member countries that could extend the process.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for International Economic Relations told Reuters the side letters aim “to modify elements of the chapter referring to investor-State dispute resolution mechanisms, a subject of criticism and international debate.”
The president’s press office said the government’s line is to move forward with the side letters.
The CPTPP is comprised of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The United States formally withdrew in 2017 under President Donald Trump.
The agreement withdraws 95% of the tariffs among its members and, according to the Chilean Foreign Ministry website, is one of the most relevant economic integration schemes in Asia Pacific, covering 498 million people who represent 12% of the global economy.
(Report by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Alexander Villegas; Editing by Leslie Adler)