Chile ratifies CPTPP – but resists Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions
January 9, 2023: Just prior to Christmas, on the night of December 22, 2022, the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the instrument of ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP or TPP-11) was deposited in New Zealand.
The agreement was approved by the Chilean Senate on October 11, 2022, and will enter into force during February 2023.
This followed divisions about the agreement in the progressive Chilean government coalition elected in February 2022. President Boric and the more progressive parties opposed it, but more moderate parties in the coalition voted to ratify it in the Senate with some conditions. These apparently included side-letters to modify or exclude the Investor-State Dispute settlement provisions of the agreement.
The Foreign Ministry reported that Chile had signed side-letters about ISDS with New Zealand, Malaysia and Mexico, and had signed a declaration with Canada in which they agreed to work on the revision of the ISDS provisions.
Chile is reportedly working with Australia to obtain a similar declaration. Australia and New Zealand have a CPTPP side letter agreeing not to apply ISDS to each other.
Background: In March 2017, after the US pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Chilean civil society organisations urged the Chilean government to reject the TPP, opposing the ISDS provisions in particular. When negotiations for the TPP continued among 11 countries without the US, a broad coalition of Chilean groups organised strong protests against the agreement, resulting in Parliamentary inquiries that delayed ratification. A people’s plebiscite organised by social movements in July 2019 attracted over half a million votes with 92% rejecting the deal. The progressive government elected in February 2022 also delayed ratification until now, four years after it was signed in March 2018.