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The MAI in the Words of Framers, Proponents and Opponents

Compiled by Preamble Collaborative



On the MAI generally:

We are writing the constitution of a single global economy. - Renato Ruggerio, Director General of the World Trade Organization

When concluded, the MAI will become the next pillar in the global system of trade, finance, and investment. - United States Council for International Business (USCIB)

The agreement will be based on a standstill agreement and a rollback principle: the parties will not be entitled to add non-conforming measures once the agreement has been signed. They will only be entitled to liberalise in the future. - Marinus W. Sikkel, Ministry of Economics, the Netherlands and MAI working group member

Unlike earlier efforts to forge a multilateral investment accord, the MAI is intended to address a comprehensive range of investment issues, have a broad geographical scope, and provide for further liberalization of investment regimes. - USCIB

The MAI will . . . provide pathbreaking disciplines in areas of major interest to foreign investors.- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (emphasis added)

For the host country, foreign investment creates jobs and adds to the technology base. For the home country, investment has a positive effect on exports, employment, technology development, and increased financial returns. As the largest source and recipient of foreign direct investment, the U.S. stands to gain significantly from the MAI. - USCIB (emphasis in original)

On the MAI and state sovereignty:

[OECD] Ministers also commit to . . . promote intiatives for domestic regulatory reform. . . especially when they lead to the liberalization of trade and investment flows. - OECD

If we reflected upon the economic, social and ethical ramifications of the MAI, they reveal what is perhaps its most salient feature. It challenges the right of a nation to determine its own economic, social and ethical development. - Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Director, Just World Trust

Western Governors support in principle an agreement that will reduce restrictions on international investment and assure investors they will be treated fairly. At the same time, we must be mindful of the impact that internationally negotiated investment or trade agreements can have on the sovereignty of states - Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson

For the real future of Britain is being discussed not here, but elsewhere, and in the utmost secrecy. The columnists who have so shrilly defended the sovereignty of Parliament from the technocrats in Brussels have so far failed to devote a single column inch to the shady deliberations of the EU's bigger brother, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. - George Monbiat, UK Environmentalist

On the MAI's potential economic and environmental impact:

[The MAI is] about opening markets, making us more competitive, making the pie bigger so that all ships can rise. - Steven Canner, Vice President for Investment Policy, USCIB

A successful MAI will enable U.S. firms to compete more effectively in the global marketplace. - USCIB

We will oppose any and all measures to create or even imply binding obligations for governments or business related to the environment or labor. - Abraham Katz, President of USCIB

The ability of governments to use investment policy as a tool to promote social, economic and environmental goals will be forbidden under the MAI. - Tony Clarke, Polaris Institute

We're concerned about its deregulation aspects on the environment. . . and there's no balance in it. Corporate rights are not balanced with corporate responsibility. - Charles Arden-Clarke, Worldwide Fund for Nature

[We will] resist efforts to impose new 'voluntary' guidelines or codes of conduct on the operations of multinational corporations. - USCIB

Most simply, the goal of the investment pact that emerges from review of these documents is to constrain the power of governments in host countries and in source countries to regulate investors' activities. Thus, the MAI would reduce the capacity of national and sub-national governments to limit the degree and nature of foreign investment. . . or to impose standards of behavior on investors. - Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

On the right of investors to sue governments established under NAFTA and the proposed MAI:

We continue to urge that MAI provide very broad remedies that would go beyond monetary remedies and that dispute settlement apply to all obligations of the agreement, including the right of establishment. - Abraham Katz, President, USCIB

[T]he potential for lawsuits under this [investor-to state dispute resolution] process is far-reaching since it could be used by more than 350 million individuals and corporations throughout the NAFTA countries. - Appleton & Associates, attorneys for the Ethyl Corporation, which is suing the Canadian government under NAFTA for passing an environment regulation banning one of its products

[T]here are no binding obligations on foreign investors that citizens, or even governments, can enforce through the MAI's dispute resolution rules. - Friends of the Earth

On the MAI and the third world:

First, with respect to these concerns about the flight of U.S. capital to developing countries, this is an agreement only with rich countries. - Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Lang

It is our intent and objective to extend the MAI to developing countries. - Wes Scholz, Department of State

Given the current competition for capital, accession to the MAI, particularly by developing countries, will serve as a 'seal of approval.' - USCIB

[The MAI is] one of the greatest threats ever to the economic development and national sovereignty of countries of the South.- Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, Director, Just World Trust

On the MAI and economic sanctions against human rights violators:

[The MAI's Most Favored Nation treatment provision] requires a host country to treat investors and their investments from one Contracting Party no differently than investors and their investments from any other Contracting Party. - Mr. Robin Morgan, International Financial Services Division, HM Treasury, United Kingdom

The U.S. government should control foreign policy at the national level and not permit state and local governments to determine which economic sanctions are appropriate. - USCIB

Foreign investment in non-democratic countries can help prop up dictators. For this reason, some nations, states and cities use their laws as carrots or sticks to discourage businesses from investing in dictatorial regimes. But the MAI says that foreign companies can't be punished for investment they make in other countries. This means that we have to close our eyes to how a foreign investor acts oustide of our borders, so when it comes to foreign corporations, our laws can't reflect our values. -Friends of the Earth

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