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Chile’s ex-chief negotiator drops a bombshell on TPPA

2 June 2013
For immediate release
Chile’s ex-chief negotiator drops a bombshell on TPPA

In a dramatic public statement, Chile’s former chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPPA) Rodrigo Contreras has urged fellow Latin American countries to work together to defend their interests against the demands of rich countries in the talks.

Contreras warned that unless they held back those demands the TPPA will become ‘a threat for our countries: it will restrict our options for development in health and education, in biological and cultural diversity, and in the design of public policies and the transformation of our economies’.

It will also provoke a backlash from Latin America’s increasingly active social movements.

The warning came in an opinion piece in the 16 May edition of Peru’s Spanish language weekly Caretas, at the start of the most recent negotiating round in Peru.*

Contreras stood down from the role in February 2013. Informed bloggers note ‘It’s widely believed that he left his post voluntarily. He’s held in high esteem not just in Chile but among his fellow trade negotiators. His departure left people on the trade beat scratching their heads. It now appears probable that the reason for his resignation was that he saw where the TPP was likely to go and didn’t want his name attached to it.’

‘Chile’s former chief negotiator has dropped a bombshell on the talks’, said Professor Jane Kelsey who is a critic of the negotiations.

‘While his concerns are targeted at the poorer countries at the TPPA table, the risks are essentially the same for New Zealand’ Professor Kelsey observed.

‘Here is an insider who knows the texts. Rodrigo Contreras has sat in the negotiating room for several years and tried to get the US and others to back off their most damaging demands. He now believes the current direction of the TPPA poses a threat to his country’s economic and social development’.

‘The evidence continues to mount against this agreement every day. New Zealand cannot continue to negotiate the TPPA under the shroud of secrecy. With many chapters nearing closure, it is way past the time to release what is on the table so we can evaluate and debate its implications’, Kelsey said.
*For an English translation see: The New Chessboard – English Translation of Rodrigo Contreras Article

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