SANTIAGO – Chile will continue to pursue trade agreements with other nations that favor global economic integration despite U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s stated intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz said Tuesday.
“If that happens it is a sovereign decision of the new government in Washington,” he said.
“What I can say with confidence is that we in Chile will not remain passive. We will continue our opening to the world with those who are ready to follow this course of integration and to reject protectionism,” the minister said.
Trump said in a video released Monday that he intends to pull the U.S. out of the TPP, describing the 12-country accord as a “potential disaster for our country.”
Instead of multinational pacts, the U.S. will pursue bilateral trade agreements, Trump said.
While acknowledging the current “uncertainty,” Muñoz said that Chile is clear on what course to follow.
“More integration, more trade and more opening to the world, because that is what has created prosperity in our country, has created jobs, has allowed us to reduce poverty and, definitively, to expand our horizons,” he told a press conference.
Several of the TPP signatories want to press forward with implementation of the accord regardless of Washington’s stance, the foreign minister said.
The dozen countries that signed the TPP on Feb. 4 – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam – together account for 40 percent of global GDP.
But the withdrawal of the world’s largest economy makes it very unlikely that lawmakers in the 11 other nations will ratify the document as it currently stands.
Apart from the TPP, Chile will focus on bolstering trade ties with other Asia-Pacific economies such as China, South Korea and Indonesia, Muñoz said.
The impending visit to Chile of Chinese President Xi Jinping will include the signing of a memorandum of understanding about deepening the 2004 bilateral trade treaty, the minister said.