SANTIAGO, Chile — In mid-March, ministers and high-level representatives from nations that have signed on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as well as China, Colombia and South Korea, met for the first time since the Trump administration withdrew from the trade accord. The signal from Viña del Mar, Chile, where the meeting took place, was clear: Multilateral trade and Pacific integration are alive and kicking.
The meeting, hosted by Chile as president pro tempore of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc (Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru), was a needed symbol of stability in increasingly uncertain seas. Protectionism, nationalism and populism are sadly on the rise worldwide. Indeed, multilateralism and the very concept of economic collective security are being challenged. The fears that drive retrenchment on trade must be reckoned with. Social and economic inequities resulting from trade are real.
The countries in the Pacific Alliance will continue to work with the United States on a bilateral basis, but the Asia-Pacific region is ready to lead the new age of globalization in the 21st century by continuing the pluralistic approach to trade envisioned in the T.P.P., even though the accord no longer exists as we knew it.
The 15 Pacific Rim nations in attendance in Chile three weeks ago signaled a strong and stable consensus across the Asia Pacific region that open economies, free trade and regional integration represent the way forward for achieving inclusive and progressive development. We remain committed to working pragmatically with its core principles and contents to advance open commerce, coupled with socially and environmentally inclusive domestic policies.
Read the full story on the NY Times