Chilean Senate ratifies CPTPP, President Boric wants side-letters to neutralise ISDS

Monday, October 17, 2022: The Chilean Senate ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on October 11, by 27 votes to 10, amid strong protests from 200 worker and civil society organisations. The Chamber of Deputies had ratified it back in April 2019.

President Gabriel Boric has to execute the ratification, but won’t do so until he has negotiated side letters with Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, and Thailand, to ensure that Chile is not subject to Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) claims from investors from those countries.

Rightists and the Democratic Socialist Coalition want the CPPTP to come into force immediately for Chile, while the President, and politicians from the left wing parties which support him want the side letters first.

The CPTPP involves 11 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Viet Nam. Australia and New Zealand have exchanged side letters agreeing not to allow ISDS claims from their corporations.

The CPTPP came into force for Australia in December 2018. On October 7, after years of critical debate the Malaysian Cabinet decided to ratify it just before dissolving parliament and calling an election, prompting criticism from civil society groups.

Brunei Darussalam has yet to ratify.