Civil society protests as leaders praise flawed TPP at Chile meeting

17 March 2017: Representatives from all TPP countries except the US missed an opportunity to strive for fairer trade deals when they praised the dead TPP in a statement following a meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a broader meeting on Integration Initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region including non-TPP countries China, Korea and the US.

Missed opportunity

In praising the TPP, leaders ignored calls for fairer trade deals from civil society organisations from around the world.

Ahead of the meeting in Chile, 200 organisations from 15 countries had urged trade ministers not to use the failed TPP as a model for future agreements. Many AFTINET member organisations, together representing around two million Australians, endorsed the letter.

Opposition to the corporate TPP model of trade was also felt locally: Chilean community organisations protested close to the venue as discussions were taking place.

Local groups reiterated the same concerns about the TPP’s damaging impacts on health, democracy and the environment, and called on trade ministers not to revive the dead TPP.

What next?

The statement released after the meeting in Chile did not set out a clear path forward for trade in our region. However, representatives from the 11 countries have agreed to meet again on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Vietnam on 20-21 May.

While the future is uncertain, it’s clear that there is still a powerful push to revive the dead TPP in future trade deals. It’s important that civil society organisations in Australia and around the world continue to oppose the flawed corporate agenda and advocate for open, transparent negotiations towards trade deals that improve peoples’ lives and enhance rather than weaken human rights like access to medicines.