Colombia Should Not Enter Trans-Pacific Partnership

(Translated by Mai Tyler, CSN Volunteer Translator)

After much anticipation, the culmination of the Trans-Pacific Treaty between twelve states was announced. However, it appears that numerous aspects remain unwritten and the United States Congress will only consider the treaty until 2016.

In addition to the United States and Japan, who rank first and third in the world economy respectively, the other integrant countries are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

All of the countries have treaties of free commerce with the United States. Colombia has treaties with five of the included countries (USA, Canada, Chile, Peru and Mexico) and is currently finalizing negotiations with Japan.

The advantage of this treaty for the United States is to raise the requirements of bilateral treaties that other countries have made (making them more onerous), removing the protections that many countries have put in place, and installing new regulations in the world economy before the paralysis of the WTO with the intent of economically encircling China.

The United States was able to impose their criteria on dairy products on New Zealand and Canada as well as create eight-year protections on biological medicines. The U.S. also stuck a serious blow to the regulations that have kept Japan and Canada in the agricultural sector.

Colombia is not a leader in the dairy industry, and its fledgling industry could be severely threatened under the TPP, in addition to the damaging effects of liberalizing the national sugar market. The debate about biotechnological medicines has not finished in Colombia, and to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership would mean granting an eight-year protective measure to multinational pharmaceuticals regarding the most expensive drugs. The ability to access the automotive industry, up to 45% of which remains manufactured in the region, favors countries that already have national plants and harms the assembly industry in the smallest countries, which restricts the incorporation of products from China and Russia.

Colombia’s partners in the Pacific Alliance are also part of TPP: Chile, Mexico and Peru. For this reason the Colombian government has considered application to the TPP, which in reality would mean entering the agreement.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has a geopolitical component that shows the intent of the U.S. government to reenergize the initiative in Asia and the Pacific, to form an array of treaties under their control that benefit the largest American corporations and raise the regulatory standards already established under NAFTA. Colombia has a commercial deficit with all the countries involved in the TPP and this agreement is a tremendous blow to an already weakening national production economy.

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