Opinion column by Juan Carlos Domínguez, President of ChileCarne, the Chilean Meat Exporters’ Association
On March 8, 2018, I was fortunate enough to witness the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) better known as TPP-11. I would have never imagined that three years later we would still be discussing the advantages of being part of this next generation treaty, the most inclusive and comprehensive ever agreed to in the history of international trade. Today, seeing that our neighbors in Peru have already ratified it, or that global powerhouses such as the United Kingdom are asking to join, we Chileans are still questioning whether we want to be part of it. It’s hard to believe.
With only 19 million inhabitants, the possibility of offering our goods and services to global markets is essential for the development of our industry and the growth of our country. Being able to access goods and services that Chile does not produce benefits all Chileans, and that is why our country has followed this path of development for more than 40 years… WE ARE a country open to the world.
What’s wrong then? Why are there sectors that do not want to approve the incorporation of Chile into this group? Could it be that Canadians, Japanese, Australians, New Zealanders, Mexicans, and Peruvians are all wrong? I would say no, but as on so many other occasions, those who shout the loudest are heard, and personal interests prevail over national interests. They are thinking short term, about the next presidential election, and not about what is best for Chile and its people. Because there is no turning back, WE ARE a country open to the world.
I was part of the discussions held at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, where the ratification of the treaty was approved. The countless benefits of this treaty for our country were explained on this occasion: preferential tariffs for more than 1,600 products and services that we currently export; benefits for imports; accumulation of origin that would allow us to include raw materials from third-party countries to products and export them as Chilean with added value; and trade facilitation, among many others. In addition, those who took part in the discussions dispelled every doubt and debunked the myths surrounding the treaty.
So, why does the Senate refuse to ratify it? The benefits are clear, and every day that goes by without ratifying the agreement is a day our country loses competitiveness, impacting investment and hindering the development of Chile and its people. Are we no longer a country open to the world? I refuse to believe that. I believe in our officials and I believe that sanity will prevail and we will be able to ratify this agreement that will do so much good for Chile and its people. WE ARE a country open to the world!