Transpacific Partnership praised by Latin governments amid opposition

Transpacific Partnership praised by Latin governments amid opposition.
Transpacific Partnership praised by Latin governments amid opposition.

Following the announcement Monday in Atlanta that the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries have reached an accord for the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), the governments of Chile, Peru and Mexico, the three Latin American nations that are participating in the trade agreement, hailed the accord amid some local opposition and demands for transparency.

“With the TPP partnership there is an opening for diverse opportunities for growth and the diversification of our economy,” Peruvian President Ollanta Humala said in a speech. 

He also added that the agreement only involves patent protections for 20-year periods. The government website said that more information will be provided later.

“We will be part of the biggest and most modern economic accord in the world, considering that the TPP is the multilateral negotiation most important in the last 20 years,” Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said. 

He added that for biological medicine there was an accord to limit protection to five years, according to the foreign ministry website.

In late September, U.S. President Barack Obama called to tell counterparts Humala in Peru and President Michelle Bachelet in Chile about the importance of signing the accord as soon as possible.

In Mexico, the country´s president wrote Monday on Twitter that he celebrates “the end of negotiations of TPP,” which will allow Mexico to “strengthen its commercial integration” and help create jobs and bring investment.

The final accord came following five days of meetings of trade ministers from the 12 countries that were preceded by at least five years of talks.

Other countries in the group are Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand. China is the most notable absence among other Pacific Rim countries not included.

However, there was also opposition in Latin America, where there is concern that their governments have been pressured into allowing U.S. pharmaceutical companies to have more power to significantly reduce the use of generic medicine and that U.S. big corporations with patents over seeds will also gain ground.

“It would be naive to believe that the TPP is an integration accord when it reality it puts us under the control of pharmaceuticals and corporate power,” Chilean Senator Alejandro Navarro wrote this week on Twitter, adding that he hopes that Chilean legislators will vote against the accord, which could raise the cost of medicines.

Navarro has warned that the accord would allow pharmaceutical companies to extend patents under a “second use” clause and has requested more information about the full extent of the accord.

A group in Chile named Citizen Platform Chile also asked for transparency, echoing demands across the region. It cited Wikileaks texts from 2014, which allegedly show the accord is an attempt by corporations to increase their power, leading to more costs for Latin American food and medicine consumers. Environmental protection is weakened, it added.