MAI fast track set;
The Clinton administration has committed to placing the Multilateral Agreement
on Investment on the fast track for approval after Congress returns in September,
the Citizens' Trade Campaign reported.
Vote seen in Sept.
If "fast track" is approved, Congress will not be allowed to amend
the pact which is being negotiated in secret by the 29 leading industrial
nations through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
When the MAI is brought to the floor for a vote, members will only be able
to vote yes or no.
"Because the administration realizes that the more time our side has,
the more momentum we will build, they have decided to put fast track on
a very fast track," writes Ruth Caplan, co-chair of the Alliance for
Democracy, which is seeking to organize opposition to the pact. She said
the administration wants a vote September 19th -- just 10 days after Congress
returns from its summer recess.
Caplan advises: The August recess (August 1-Sept. 1) is your critical opportunity
to get in touch with your representative. Find out where their nearest office
is located. Write to them or, better yet, ask for a personal meeting. Bring
as many friends as you can. To find out if a meeting already is planned
in your district, contact Chantell Taylor at Public Citizen, 202-546-4996
ext. 303, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
Points to make:
The MAI needs full debate in the light of day. It is being secretly negotiated
in Paris by OECD members. It should not be on the fast track.
Here are arguments on MAI:
The MAI would give corporations new tools to expand their power over democracies
in the guise of expanding the global economy. Public Citizen notes: "A
broad range of existing laws (in the U.S. and abroad) designed to influence
and regulate the actions of all investors could be subject to challenge
under proposed MAI terms."
In the U.S. the MAI could limit: some stock market safeguards; some community
reinvestment laws; local tax policies aimed at multinational corporations;
expropriation of property for environmental safeguards; restrictions on
foreign ownership of real estate and even strategic industries; domestic
content requirements; and direct controls on the movement of capital.
The MAI would establish new rights for corporations and allow investors
to sue nations as well as state and local governments for failure to meet
the MAI's terms.
"The MAI draft includes a broad ban on 'performance requirements' that
could prohibit a wide range of measures countries use to promote responsible
corporate behavior," Public Citizen reports.
For more information about the MAI, check the MAI section of Public Citizen's
Global Trade Watch web site http://www.citizen.org/gtw. For help in organizing
a local forum on the MAI and for other information, contact David Lewit,
the Massachusetts Alliance for Democracy coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Caplain by e-mail at email@example.com.
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