MULTILATERAL AGREEMENT ON INVESTMENT
Information and Resource Kit
May 1998 - The MULTILATERAL AGREEMENT ON INVESTMENT being negotiated since 1995 in Paris by the 29 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was to be ready for ratification in April 1998. As of 28 April 1998, that goal has been extended by the negotiators. The Agreement is intended to remove obstacles to international investment among its signatories by eliminating investor (corporate) performance requirements and discriminatory treatment of investors by host nations. It incorporates a powerful dispute resolution system which would allow any investor to sue the government of its host nation if it considers laws or regulations to be discriminatory and detrimental to immediate or projected profits. The Agreement would therefore disable regional development and national measures to protect the well-being of people, create employment, safeguard small business, conserve resources and protect the environment. Once signed, the MAI cannot be denounced for five years. Investments under the MAI would remain protected for a further fifteen years.
The parties negotiating the MAI represent corporate interests exclusively. Consequently the MAI is a matter of great concern to organizations dedicated to protecting democracy, human rights and the environment. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have united in opposition to the MAI and to the forces behind globalization which it epitomizes.
The draft text of the MAI was first released to the public in October 1997. In November 1997, the Canadian government held public hearings on the MAI in Ottawa before a Sub-committee of the Standing Committee on International Trade and Investment. The resulting Parliamentary report and recommendations, the May 1997 Draft Working Text of the MAI and Canada's Current Draft MAI Reservations are now available on the Parliamentary website / Internet Parliamentaire.
In February 1998 an international coalition of NGOs launched a massive campaign against the MAI. In late March, representatives of the OECD stated that the treaty had stalled but that there was "unanimous political will for it." There has since been mention of moving negotiations to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and of incorporating the principles of the MAI in the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement now being negotiated.
It is essential that the MAI and similar negotiations be brought out from behind closed doors and into public debate so that public interest groups and citizens may make informed contributions to the decision-making process. The MAI Information and Resource Kit is intended to breach the secrecy surrounding the MAI and aid people in convincing their elected representatives that the MAI and other trade liberalization agreements must be brought to the people. It consists of background information on the MAI in the form of published articles; sample letters intended as guides for writing to your elected representatives and the media; and the names and mailing addresses of North American media and all Congress persons (U.S.) and Members of Parliament (Canada). Also included is a list of references available on the internet, a flyer and a petition suitable for printing and photocopying.
Essential reading is the overview by Michelle Sforza-Roderick, Scott Nova, and Mark Weisbrot for the Preamble Collaborative, and an analysis by Tony Clarke of the Polaris Institute. Also of special interest is a summary of trade lawyer Barry Appleton's notes on Canada's proposed reservations to the MAI. A recent campaign, based on the principles of accountability by Henry McCandless and driven by the OPIRG-Carleton MAI-Not! Project, can be found below as well.
What is the MAI?
- INTRODUCTION: The MAI: Basic Facts, by the Preamble Collaborative
- HISTORY: The Development of the MAI, by Connie Fogal
- In Focus: Multilateral Agreement on Investment, by Mark Vallianatos, Friends of the Earth
- Summary of the MAI Text, by Bill Watamaniuk
- The MAI FAQ, by the OECD
- OECD investment pact "not dead," just convalescing, by Brian Love, Paris newsroom (Reuters)
- Update on MAI Negotiations (April 02, 1998) by Mark Vallianatos, Friends of the Earth
- Overview of the MAI: Writing the Constitution of a Single Global Economy, by Michelle Sforza-Roderick, Scott Nova, and Mark Weisbrot for the Preamble Collaborative
- Sneaky Treaty Would Entrench TNCs' Rights, Privileges (From The CCPA Monitor, April 1997)
- Shaping the Trading System..., remarks by William Witherell, OECD
- A LAMENT FOR DEMOCRACY: Good gov't requires a well-informed electorate, by Ed Finn
- Global Failures in Need of Local Solutions, by Naomi Klein
- Summary of trade lawyer Barry Appleton's notes on Canada's proposed reservations to the MAI
In More Depth
- Analysis of the MAI: MAI-DAY! The Corporate Rule Treaty, by Tony Clarke
- A FIRST NATIONS PRIMER (Canada) on the MAI, prepared by Ovide Mercredi, LLB.
- A BCNIzed Canada? (From the CCPA Monitor, September 1996)
- SILENT COUP: Confronting the big business takeover of Canada, By Tony Clarke
- NAFTA's Failure at 41 Months: Testimony of Lori Wallach Before the International Trade Commission, May 15, 1997
- "FREE MARKET" FALLACIES: What we need is a rule-based international economy, by John McMurtry
- There's a Dangerous Flaw in "Global Economy" Concept, by David C. Korten
- The Media's Love Affair with "Free Trade", by Norman Solomon
- A QUESTION OF VALUES: Is making money all economics is (or should be) about? by John Dillon
How to be Heard
- INTRODUCTION: How to write to media and representatives in Parliament or Congress
- Some questions for our MPs or Representatives
- Letter to Members of Parliament from public interest groups (Canada)
- Letter to your Member of Parliament (Canada)
- Another letter to your MP (Canada)
- Letter to your representative in Congress (U.S.)
- Letter to the editor of your favourite newspaper
- A letter to the Canadian Premiers from a non-profit society
- Letter to Mac Harb, MP Ottawa Centre
Where to Write
- INTRODUCTION: How to use these resources
- Media: A list of media in Canada and the U.S., with FAX numbers and mail or e-mail addresses
- List of Ministers of the 36th Parliament (CANADA)
- List of Members of the House of Commons, 36th Parliament, by Province and Constituency (CANADA)
- List of the Committees of the House of Representatives (U.S.)
- Mailing Addresses of the Members of the House of Representatives (U.S.)
- List of the Members of the House of Representatives, by State and District (U.S.)
- The "M.A.I.? Tell Us Why" Campaign for accountability from our elected representatives
- Petition (for printout) by Opposition Trade Critic Bill Blaikie, MP
- Quotes from Framers, Opponents, and Proponents of the MAI
- References: List of references available on the internet
- Flyer: A one-page Canadian brochure about the MAI, suitable for printing and photocopying. (When printing from your browser, adjust Page Setup to give maximum printing area on the page.)