U.S. Opening Statement at the Trade Policy Review of Chile
December 11, 2023
The United States welcomes Head of Delegation Sra. Claudia Sanhueza and the rest of the Chilean delegation to the sixth Trade Policy Review of Chile. We appreciate the Secretariat and Government Reports and the opportunity to review the significant work that Chile has undertaken in the past eight years.
The U.S. – Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is the United States’ oldest free trade agreement with a Western Hemisphere partner since the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Goods and services trade between our countries totaled $40 billion in 2021, which is a significant increase from the $8.7 billion we traded in 2003, the year before we signed the FTA. Given the comprehensive reforms that Chile undertook during the review period, the mature trade relationship that it has with the United States, and it’s potential to play a critical role in a sustainable and green future, the United States looks forward to advancing its cooperation with Chile across various areas of mutual interest, including diversity and inclusion, and sustainability.
The United States commends Chile for its handling of the economic crisis caused by the global pandemic, and the efforts it is taking to regain pre-pandemic levels of employment, transition towards sustainable growth, and control inflation. We also welcome Chile’s recent legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms that bring Chile’s full environmental ambitions to bear. In particular, with the promise Chile holds for global critical mineral supply chains, we are keen to see how Chile implements its
National Lithium Strategy while maintaining an environment conducive to investment in the sector.
Understanding Chile’s goal to attract foreign investment and acknowledging Chile’s high-standard investment environment that it has maintained in recent years, the United States notes the importance of protecting the rights of existing investors in the pension, insurance, energy, and mining sectors. We observe with interest Chile’s draft pension reform bill, and encourage Chile to ensure that any reform is consistent with its international obligations, including with respect to expropriation and compensation.
As was the case at Chile’s last Trade Policy Review in 2015, the United States urges Chile to take action to address its remaining intellectual property issues. During the period of review, Chile strengthened its legal framework by criminalizing trademark falsification and increasing penalties for aiding and abetting the trade of various types of illicit goods, among other items. However, despite the 20 years since the signing of our FTA, several IP provisions remain unaddressed, including protection against the unlawful circumvention of technological protection measures, protection for plant varieties, and improvement of its internet service provider liability framework. In addition, the United States asks that Chile ensure that market access for products in Chile will not be restricted due to the mere use of certain terms; or, alternatively, that Chile provide transparency and procedural fairness to all interested parties in connection with potential recognition or protection of geographical indications. We welcome further engagement with Chile on these and other important topics relating to intellectual property rights.
As reflected in our advance written questions, the United States has great interest in updates to amendments to Chile’s General Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture of 1989, and the environmental and labor impacts of the new fisheries law that was submitted to the National Assembly this year. Further in that vein, we welcome the positive news regarding Chile’s acceptance of the Protocol of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Finally, we submitted several questions to better understand Chile’s State Trading Enterprise, COTRISA (Comercializadora de Trigo S.A.).
We view Chile as one of our most trusted and reliable trading partners in the region, and believe that our partnership will only strengthen through our work and cooperation under the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity. The United States thanks Chile for its leadership in the Americas Partnership, especially its agreement to lead a new initiative that aims to build the region’s civil space industry.
It was an honor for the United States to host APEC this year. Chile was a strong supporter of our focus to advance sustainability and inclusivity in trade and investment policy. We very much recognize that our success this year built on and was supported by Chile’s extensive work in APEC to advance economic empowerment of women.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Chile’s trade policy. We appreciate the Director-General and her team for all of their efforts, and we look forward to a robust discussion and productive Trade Policy Review.