New Zealand, Chile and the TPP

The text below is from a comment we received to this post.

Written by Thomas King

Standing from a far, the mutation of the cosy P4 into the mega beast that is the TPP is both rousing and unnerving.

One need not vacillate when it comes to appreciating that Chile’s stellar economic rebound has been constructed on a foundation of ftas and strong bilateral affiliations. This strategy of offence has been the bread and butter approach of what many would call a Chilean economic miracle which other Latin states have sought to replicate as a kind of go to template.

Chile certainly has been busy since the 90s and even more so since the Glorious Noughties going around and collecting an impressive array of signatures for its economic year book. Deals with the crème de la crème of the elite including the ink marks of the EU, Uncle Sam, Australia, Mexico and the Fonzi of the 21st century China. Yes, Chile is a popular face with an agreeable environment fertile and highly conductive for doing business.

As a New Zealander, the reverberations of TPP chit chat are like reflections down memory lane. Kiwis like our Condores brothers and sisters realise that ftas and bilateral trade agreements are the lifeblood for our sparsely populated Pacific outposts.

Helen Clark, our former prime minister worked tirelessly to promote and nurture the fledgling agreement during its infant years. However, as an observer with a clue I seriously wonder how much more proverbial juice Chile can squeeze out of this new Super size Me pact. I don’t seek to be the pooper of the Chilean fiesta but it seems as if it’s a case of been there done that. After all, Chile already has profited on multiple occasions via the bilateral fta bonds it ALREADY shares with the majority of it’s principle trading partners.

Surely San-hattan (Santiago Manhattan) like our Wellington Bee Hive should be endeavouring to tackle the final frontier of addressing the nagging and niggling issue of trade barriers and particularly through the tackling of tariffs.

In Chilean interests, dealing with the austere agricultural protectionism in both Korea and Japan is an itch which Chileans will be dying to scratch at. However, with an ageing workforce in the agrarian sector and a lack of volition from youth yearning to fill the void one may be forgiven for thinking that pastoral economies such as New Zealand and Chile are merely licking their lips while biding their time.

Clearly, the TPP from both New Zealand and Chile’s perspective is a realisation that we very much are now living in the Pacific Century and an epoch that promises great wealth and remuneration for both candidates. Needless to say, Chile like New Zealand need to capture the wider portrait when it comes to supplementing their economic drivers.

I strongly feel that New Zealand continues to overlook strong trading ties with India a nation driven to be the counterweight to China in the Greater Asian landscape. While clearly lagging behind an until recently rampant Chinese economy it is only a matter of time before the Subcontinent cracker goes off with a bang.

Indonesia too is a large nation which we have also largely neglected to give credibility to. It is one of the MINT nations (along with Mexico, Nigeria and Turkey) that have been cited by the who’s who of international economists to be the next wave of BRICS nations to make some waves on the global financial front.

This is one capital tsunami which New Zealand and Chile together cannot afford to miss getting wiped out from if you would please pardon my rather naughty surfing pun.

That stated, Chile been there done that. Quote unquote full stop. Still, as an eternal optimist, I sincerely hope that the negotiations bare fruitful relations between all Pacific fellows concerned.

As a non Latino trying to speak as if I were, which is no mean feat, I would probably express concrete fears of the hiving of other Big South American players from the deal, namely Argentina and Brazil.

Additionally I would be preoccupied about whether the TPP is really going to promote free trade or if it is merely destined to be little more than a Pacific NAFTA or a snug tightly suffocating straight jacket of American regulatory desires. Time will tell how the neoliberal experiment in Chile will unfold

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