The Trans-Pacific Partnership, agreed to on October 5, 2015 by the twelve participating countries, is likely to prove disastrous for the Latin American states—Chile, Mexico, and Perú—that have joined the pact up to now. Multinational economic interests based in the United States have exerted extraordinary influence over the accord, inserting language that will arguably serve to damage Latin American interests.
Though the TPP has often been presented as a disinterested effort to stimulate basic economic growth and development in the Pacific Rim, the economic principles that underlay the TPP may instead serve to advance the interests of the world’s leading corporations. U.S. President Barack Obama promised in a statement that the TPP would slash over 18,000 foreign taxes that the U.S. faces for its exports. Despite being heralded as a path to prosperity for developing countries, eliminating protectionist measures in countries like Chile, Perú, and Mexico could prove to be very harmful.
The great nineteenth century German economist Friedrich List argued that developed countries calling for expanded free trade in less developed countries is hypocritical as well as misleading. As List put it, “it is a very common clever device that when anyone has attained the summit of greatness, he kicks away the ladder by which he has climbed up, in order to deprive others of the means of climbing up after him.”