U.S. Statement at the Trade Policy Review of Chile

U.S. Statement at the WTO Trade Policy Review of Chile
Delivered by Ambassador Michael Punke
U.S. Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization

Geneva, Switzerland
June 23, 2015

Thank you, Chair.  The United States warmly welcomes the delegation of Chile, led by Director General Rebelledo to the fifth Trade Policy Review of Chile.  We are also appreciative for the work in this town of our friend, Ambassador Hector Casanueva.

At its last review in 2009, we noted the Chilean Government’s efforts to offset the effects of the global economic crisis.  To its credit, Chile refrained from introducing fundamental changes to its already-open trade policy and managed to continue along the path of trade liberalization.

Successive Chilean administrations have remained steadfast in their commitment to deepen integration with the global economy through trade agreements.  The United States and Chile are long-term partners, with our bilateral trade agreement as the foundation of our partnership.  The agreement has been in force since January 1, 2004, and now, with the twelfth annual tariff reductions taking effect on January 1, 2015, 100% of U.S. exports can enter Chile duty-free.  Our two-way bilateral trade in goods has quadrupled since the FTA took effect.  We should note that the U.S. exports of goods and services to Chile supported an estimated 106,000 jobs in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Complementing the improved trade flows, foreign direct investment in each other’s market has also grown.  U.S. foreign direct investment in Chile was $41.1 billion in 2013, up 8.7% from 2012.  Chilean FDI in the United States was $487 million in 2013, up 20.8% from 2012.

We would like to recognize Chile’s open and transparent trade and investment regime and commend them for the work they have done to create a predictable environment within their borders.  We also value the cooperative working relationships we and many of our regulators have with Chilean counterparts and recent resolution of and progress on issues with respect to pork, beef grading and alcohol labeling.  However, as is true for all of us, we feel there are some specific areas where Chile could take action to improve its trade and investment regime.  We have referenced many of these in our questions, but would like to briefly touch on some of those areas.

While the United States appreciates our extensive engagement with Chile on its draft nutrition labeling regulation and strongly supports Chile’s public health objectives, we remain concerned about elements of the draft regulation that could confuse consumers as well as negatively impact U.S. exports.

The United States urges Chile to take steps to address long-standing intellectual property issues.  For example, we urge Chile to implement protections against the unlawful circumvention of technological protection measures and protections for encrypted program-carrying satellite signals, as well as improve protection for plant varieties.  We also urge Chile to implement an effective system for addressing patent issues expeditiously in connection with applications to market pharmaceutical products and to provide adequate protection against unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure, of undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products.  We welcome further engagement with Chile on these and other important IPR issues.

Chile continues to make significant contributions to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, working to promote trade and investment liberalization in the Asia-Pacific region.  Showing leadership in the region, at the Summit of the Americas, Chile joined others in publically affirming that it intends to notify the WTO of its acceptance of the TFA in advance of the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2015.

We are now working with Chile in the most ambitious effort yet to promote regional trade and investment liberalization, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).   In TPP, we are seeking to liberalize trade and investment on a comprehensive basis, and are tackling a broad range of issues with relevance to the way trade happens in the 21st century.  These are ambitious objectives, but the 12 TPP partners are committed to them, in part because we know an ambitious agreement is one that will generate the greatest benefits to its members, and for our citizens.  We are committed to a TPP that is fully consistent with our WTO obligations and contributes to a stronger multilateral system.  We would also like to note the important early and ongoing role of Chile in the TiSA negotiations.

Chair, United States appreciates this opportunity to comment on Chile’s trade policy.  We would like once again to express our appreciation to the Director General and his team for all of the information they are providing, and we look forward to receiving the answers to our questions.  In addition, we welcome further cooperation on trade matters with our Chilean colleagues – here at the WTO and in the broader context of our positive and growing bilateral relationship.  Thank you.