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E-M:/ Re: MAI: Rights Without Responsibilities

Enviro-Mich message from Harold Stokes <hstokes@geocities.com>

Thanks for helping to publicize the concise Olsen article on MAI.  -Harold

Please give strong consideration to publishing the Olsen analysis in the
March issue of the CACC Newsletter to give people adequate time to address
groups, notifying others, legislators and local officials about the affect
that MAI, if adopted, will give far greater control of their future and
governments throughout the world to the super rich transnational
corporations.   -Harold

OTHERS receiving this MEMO,
Everyone who is interested in stopping the control of the super rich
transnational corporation leaders from further dominating our lives and
control of world governemnts need to be aware and take acton on the
proposed MAI legislation coming up in May in Washington, DC.  -Harold

Joseph -- This seems to be one of the best articles I've seen explaining
the MAI.  You might file it for future use in a newsletter.......Annie

>  WWW.ONEWORLD  <http://www.oneworld.org/guides/MAI/front.html>
> Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)
> "Next election your vote may be irrelevant" The Council of Canadians
>  What is the MAI?
>  The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) is a new treaty
>  aimed at giving companies greater rights when they invest overseas.
>  It is currently being negotiated by industrialised countries for
>  adoption by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
>  Development (OECD), but the intention is to take the treaty on
>  to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) so that it becomes the
>  international standard on investment. Although individual
>  countries could still choose whether or not to sign up to the
>  treaty, the OECD has already stated that doing so would be seen
>  as a 'certificate of good conduct' - sign up or we won't invest in
>  you.
>  Power struggle
> - Most countries welcome investment from overseas.
>  Yet the MAI is in fact not about investment at all (which has
>  expanded happily over the past 20 years); it's about the balance
>  of power. Up to now governments have been able to control what
>  investment they allow into their country, and - crucially - have
>  been able to dictate terms for companies wishing to invest there
>  (how many local jobs they have to create, where they should be
>  based, what proportion of materials they have to source
>  locally, etc). Under the MAI governments will lose any right to
>  these controls: investors have unlimited access to enter a
>  country under any terms they like.
>  Rights without responsibilities
> - These 'investors' are basically transnational corporations (TNCs).
>  But as they stand to gain greater, unregulated access to new markets,
>  smaller local businesses will be swept aside. At the same time,
>  workers around the world will come under even greater pressure to
>  accept the lower standards which TNCs demand; the extra rights that
>  the MAI gives investors are nowhere balanced by extra
>  responsibilities on their part.
>  Threat to development - The MAI is of particular concern to the
>  countries of the developing world, whose domestic industries will be
>  the first to suffer in the face of uncontrolled competition from
>  TNCs. This has prompted strong resistance from several Southern
>  governments, who see the treaty as a direct return to colonialism.
>  Yet the MAI threatens local communities in all countries of
>  the world, just as it allows TNCs the right to penetrate any sector
>  - including the media: foreign companies will be able to take
>  over national broadcasting corporations just as easily as a
>  food processing plant. Moreover, the MAI gives investors the right
>  to sue local or national governments which try to protect
>  local industries - while those bodies have no right of
>  counter-claim against the investors themselves!
>  End of democracy
> - In this way the MAI represents a fundamental
>  challenge to democracy in every country in the world - hence the
>  slogan quoted at the top of the page, from the Canadian campaign
>  against the MAI. Already people are building resistance to the
>  MAI, putting pressure on governments of the industrialised
>  nations to rethink the treaty. Nor is it too late: the OECD hopes
>  to finalise the MAI by May 1998, but is still having to deal with
>  numerous objections from its own member countries. It is up to each
>  one of us to stop this threat to our freedoms - get involved before
>  it's too late!
>  ................................................
> Bob Olsen      Toronto         bobolsen@arcos.org   (:-)

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