“It is not something that the government is pushing”: Boric distances himself from the support given by ministers to the TPP11 amid official division

The support to pass the TPP11 (Trans-Pacific Partnership or Transpacific Association) are already in Congress.

Besides, already there is a pre-agreement of a majority group of benches in the Senate to vote next Tuesday or Wednesday this trade pact that involves 11 countries, including Chile.

However, despite the public declarations of the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohato advance this treaty – words that were reinforced by signals from the Minister of the Treasury, MarioMarcel, and the chancellor, Antonia Urrejola-, President Gabriel Boric This Wednesday, as part of his tour of the United States, he ignored efforts to approve this trade agreement.

“We respect the will of the Senate. It is not something that the government is pushing. It was not part of our program. Our duty is to safeguard the interests of Chile and we are going to do so with the TPP11″, said Boric from New York, United States. In that sense, he played down the fact that, within their government coalitions, there are differences on this matter. “But I have no problem with the differences that exist on this point within the coalitions that support the government,” added the President.

Although the President was not opposed to this treaty continuing its processing in Congress, his words mark a setback with respect to the position that his ministers had anticipated.

I am confident that we will achieve it to (…) reach an agreement with the TPP11clear up any doubts, find a way to make this agreement compatible with all the commitments we have as a government”, stated the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Toha (PPD), on TVN two weeks ago.

For his part, Urrejola said that the analysis of this treaty was among the “priorities” of his portfolio, while Marcel pointed out on CNN that “for a small country like ours, which is open, it is important not to be left at the mercy of these conflicts and, therefore, seek alliances”.

However, despite the onslaught of Tohá, Urrejola and Marcel, in the ruling party and in some sectors of the government were not completely convinced of its benefits. In fact, criticism from some parliamentarians (from both government coalitions) has already been unleashed, in a clear distance from the position proposed by one part of the Executive.

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Even the spokeswoman for La Moneda, Camila Vallejo (PC), whose party is in a declared opposition to this treaty, was the first to report a setback regarding what Tohá, Marcel and Urrejola had proposed

We have not made any request or any specific call to the ruling party to approve the agreement. We know that this is rooted in the Senate, that there are different views, there are different views on this agreement. We have been very critical of various aspects and, particularly, with regard to the resolution of controversies”, said Vallejo, who recalled that to remedy these objections, the Foreign Ministry designed a strategy to deal with conflicts -arising from the implementation of the agreement- directly with each country. For this, letters were sent (“side letters” ) to the other 10 signatories of the TPP11 to try to channel the controversies towards a bilateral mechanism.

From New York, where he is part of the presidential delegation that participates in the UN assembly, Minister Marcel he was less explicit about his previous signs of support for the treaty. “It is not a matter of signs, the issue is How does a process that has already had a legislative advance continue?. He added that it is a matter that is already in the hands of the Senate and he only asked to have a “updated discussion”since the points that complicated its processing, such as the debate over the protection of intellectual property, “disappeared” after the US withdrew from the negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, Ana Lya Uriarte (PS) -Tohá’s main ally in the political redesign of the government-, also had been cautious in the matter and until now has not intervened in the matteraccording to negotiators inside the Senate.

In fact, on behalf of the government responsibility for conducting the round of political consultations has fallen to the Undersecretary of Economic Relations, Jose Miguel Ahumadaknown opponent of these trade agreements.

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Some senators who have spoken with Ahumada these days comment that the government is asking for more time to vote on TPP11 and not put it on the table next week. However, the majority interest is that its discussion not continue to be postponed.

One of the factors that would be weighing on the Executive is that, in addition to the resistance of the PC and the Broad Front, dissident voices are joining the TPP11 in the Socialist Party itself and in the PPD.

The senator Alfonso De Urresti (PS), declared an ally of Uriarte, in an interview with Radio Universidad de Chile, stated that he has always rejected the TPP11. “I have formed the conviction that its approval is not convenient. I know that the government is promoting it now, but it seems pointless to me, I find it strange that such a brutal position is turned around compared to what the President himself (Gabriel Boric) and other authorities, now governmental, have expressed their opposition to signing this treaty”, said De Urresti, recalling that Boric voted against the TPP11 when he was a deputy.

For his part, on T13 Radio, last Tuesday, Senator PPD Jaime Quintanawho chairs the Committee on Foreign Relations, although he pointed out that “there is no room to further delay that definition”, he assured that he does not know how he would vote when the TPP11 is seen in the room.

consulted by ThirdQuintana ratified his doubts. “Objectively, today we have greater difficulties with foreign trade and a treaty like this makes more sense. My vote will depend on how some issues in La Araucanía are resolved. However, as president of the RR.EE. I will give all the facilities that are required,” he said.

To the noises in Democratic Socialism was added this Wednesday a severe statement by the senators of the Approve Dignity committee. “The TPP11 is not part of our government program and we consider that there is no urgency to put it to a vote in the Senate (…). We have a critical look at the dispute resolution mechanisms between investors and States, among other aspects of these trade agreements that have a neoliberal bias that condition the transition to a new development model,” says the statement signed by Juan Ignacio Latorre (RD), Fabiola Campillai (independent), Claudia Pascual (PC), Daniel Núñez (PC), Alejandra Sepúlveda (FREVS) and Esteban Velásquez (FREVS).

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Meanwhile, the president of FREVS, Flavia Torrealba, asked President Boric withdraw the treaty from its processing in Congress, request to which the head of deputies of the PC also joinedBoris Barrier.

Despite these objections, the head of the UDI caucus, Ivan Moreiraanticipated that there is already a majority of benches to put it up for discussion on Tuesday the 27th or Wednesday the 28th. This decision, however, will be settled at the committee meeting to be held next Monday.

“Beyond the statements made by parliamentarians from the ruling party, who are against TPP11, we had a meeting in committees, where they asked us for 15 more days to put this treaty on the table and vote on it. The 15 days have passed and the government has asked us for more time. I believe that the government was not able to convince its sector, but we believe that we have the votes to approve it. we can’t keep waiting”, warned Moreira.

To approve TPP11, only a simple majority of 26 senators is needed (even less, depending on the legislators present on the day of the vote), of which the right-wing caucuses would contribute 25.

Therefore, only one vote is missing, although it is likely that at least a handful of support from the DC, the PPD and the PS will be expressed to ensure the ratification of this international agreement, which has already been discussed in Congress for four years.

In fact, the Chamber of Deputies already approved it on April 17, 2019 and it only remains for its discussion in the Senate to end so that the Comprehensive and Progressive Treaty of Trans-Pacific Partnership (official name of the TPP11) becomes part of the catalog of international instruments ratified by Chile.

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