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Competition and co-operation in the semi-periphery: closer economic partnership and sectoral transformations in Chile and New Zealand

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The signing of a strategic economic partnership (the Trans-Pacific SEP or P4) between Chile, New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam in 2005 reveals the emergence of a new generation of trade agreements that seek to promote longer-term synergies and cooperation. This is in marked contrast with a purely competitive, market-based model of agreements whereby economies are opened up to oligopsonistic capital. The orientation is clearly more neostructural and strategic in construction, emphasizing the opportunities within the global economy of improved relations with similarly positioned economies within the semi-periphery. This article analyses both the basis for and implications of the P4 for Chile and New Zealand by looking at three sectors in which both countries are competitive in export markets: dairy, wine and fisheries. By assessing similarities and differences, and the ways in which competition or co-operation might be established, the potential impacts of the agreement can be posited. Within a global context of bilateral and multilateral commercial agreements, it is this type of agreement that perhaps best fits the needs of smaller economies in the periphery that seek to establish greater competitive space for their exports in core economies without engaging in a mutually destructive war of competition in similar sectors and products.

Keywords: Chile; New Zealand; closer economic partnership; competition; cooperation; resource periphery; sectors

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Instituto de Estudios Urbanos y Territoriales, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, El Comendador 1916, Pedro de Valdivia Norte Casilla 16002, Correo 9, Santiago, Chile, Email: 2: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, Email: 3: School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand, Email:

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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