SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE MULTILATERAL AGREEMENT ON
Third Session, Thirty-sixth Parliament
December 29, 1998
In July 1997 a global economic crisis was triggered by the forced devaluation of the Thai currency, the baht. The financial contagion spread rapidly throughout East Asia and then to Russia and Latin America. It has affected nearly every country in the world to some extent. The financial instability and deep recession in East Asia, home to the worlds fastest growing economies for the last three decades, has had a particularly sharp and negative impact on British Columbia, the Canadian province most dependent on Asian markets.
The role played by enormous, unregulated capital flows in triggering the crisis in the former "miracle economies" of East Asia is widely acknowledged. Capital inflows first expanded the speculative bubble in financial assets and then, once it had burst, overreacted. Short-term capital flowed out so rapidly that it badly damaged real economies throwing tens of millions out of work and, in countries without adequate social safety nets, into dire poverty. While there is no consensus on what is to be done, there is a vigorous debate about the long-term reforms needed to address the most serious economic crisis to grip the world economy since the 1930s and about how to avoid future calamities. A significant number of influential voices are calling for some form of re-regulation of international capital flows.
The text of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), if it had been signed as intended in April 1997, would have permanently foreclosed that policy debate. However, the leaked text posted on the Internet in February 1997 soon drew strong criticism from an emerging international coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Public concerns about the MAI began to grow in several countries, including Canada. The U.S. administration, already beset by growing opposition and rancorous Congressional trade policy debates, delayed making a final commitment. Although a text was nearly completed, the 1997 deadline could not be met.
By 1998, as the global economic crisis continued to spread, the MAIs undiluted commitment to dismantling the remaining barriers and so-called "speed-bumps" in the path of global capital flows began to appear, even to some OECD governments, as strangely out of joint with the times. The ground had shifted under the MAI and it began to lose momentum. As Prime Minister Lionel Jospin ultimately concluded in his address to the French Parliament announcing Frances withdrawal from the negotiations, "I think that given the recent upheaval, the sudden and sometimes irrational movements of [financial] markets, it does not seem wise to allow private interests to chew away at the sovereignty of states."1
|I think we need to ask: who runs the show really? I don't think for a minute
that it's national governments anymore.
-- B. Kneen,
The setback suffered by the MAI at the OECD may be seen as part of a popular backlash against globalization. Along with the defeat of U.S. fast-track negotiating authority, stalemate on further trade and investment liberalization in APEC, and growing skepticism about the prospects for an early Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), the dissolution of the MAI negotiations is symptomatic of generalized feelings of economic insecurity and loss of control among electorates already confronted with significant economic and social restructuring. This discontent is aimed at governments, especially when they are seen as actively promoting international agreements that further erode their ability to meet public priorities and concerns. Once the MAI text was leaked and analyses of it began to be exchanged across the Internet, the critique of the secrecy and its fundamental imbalance resonated with the public despite the lack of attention given to the MAI by the mainstream media.
Canadas International Trade minister, Sergio Marchi, likened the MAI to "a shopping cart" into which citizens were placing all their anxieties about globalization.2 This may disparage citizens concerns; a great many of the criticisms of the MAI are well-founded and supported. But the analogy accurately identifies widespread public unease with a negotiating agenda intent on intensifying globalization rather than civilizing it. It is governments responsibility to address citizens concerns and priorities as core issues in any ongoing or future comprehensive investment negotiating agenda. An unmistakable lesson of the MAI is that future discussions, wherever they occur, must be open to the concerns and participation of civil society and the broader citizenry.
The terms of reference given to this committee by the Legislature are broad. They require the committee, among other matters, to consider "evidence on the issues likely to be subject to further negotiations in the future" and "the most effective and appropriate means of enhancing the levels of awareness and knowledge of British Columbians concerning the issues involved."
The setback suffered by the MAI at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides some time for reflection and preparation for the next round of global rule-making. If this time is used well, then the next round of engagement could produce very different results: a framework that not only provides certainty to international investors but also deals with citizens desires to maintain democratic direction and control over their communities and to address widening disparities in wealth and power nationally and globally.
The purpose of this part of the report is to be forward-looking to identify some important issues and to pose some key questions to be considered further in the next public phase of the committees hearings. After consulting with British Columbians throughout the province, the committee will develop recommendations on the issues involved for its final report to the Legislature in the spring of 1999.
What do you think?
Are multilateral rules on investment needed?
What interests should be represented in the negotiations?
How can greater openness to civil society and citizen participation be achieved?
The first that most Canadians heard of the MAI was when they were confronted with a nearly completed draft text. An important lesson of the MAI negotiations is the need for Canada to develop widely shared and publicly supported negotiating objectives before ongoing investment negotiations continue further or new ones begin.
|[T]he people who are trying to bring us the MAI have brought us this global
financial crisis that threatens ... the world.
-- M. Rachlis,
In October 1998, nearing the end of the first phase of its review and as international negotiations on the MAI were about to recommence in Paris, the committee adopted the following motion:
"BE IT RESOLVED: That the Special Committee on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, Canada, call on the government of British Columbia to urge the Canadian government to:
1. Reject the fundamental basis of the MAI negotiations scheduled to reconvene in Paris on October 20 and 21, 1998.
2. Propose a new set of guiding principles for a more balanced approach to international trade and investment agreements wherever they may be negotiated.
3. Use this unique opportunity to provide world leadership to foster greater international economic and social stability by strengthening democratic institutions at all levels of government and at all stages of development.
4. Propose that all parties undertake a comprehensive and transparent consultation and decision-making process to ensure that the ongoing process of globalization is redirected to address the interests of all sectors of society."3
As this motion indicates, the draft text of the MAI is, in the committees view, fundamentally flawed and should be discarded. The breakdown of negotiations at the OECD presents an opportunity to begin afresh from different premises and without the baggage of the MAI draft text.
|I'm not against rules for world trade, but I'm against this type of rules. This
doesn't allow us to react and to say how we want to develop our countries and our economic
systems in the future.
-- W. Kreissl-Dorfler,
Before any future negotiations on this matter recommence or negotiations on bilateral investment treaties, the FTAA, or other regional agreements continue further, there should be a clearer mandate from the Canadian public. These hearings are part of a process to help define clear and comprehensible objectives. However, provincial consultations must be supplemented through broad public consultations conducted by the government of Canada, involving hearings in all regions of the country.
A bottom-up process, as proposed in recommendation 4 of this report, would provide a means to identify commercial sectors where British Columbia companies are internationally active and competitive and where investment rules would provide greater certainty and enhance commercial opportunities. The committee invites the business community to assist it in identifying such sectors, elaborating the problems that B.C.-based investors encounter abroad, and devising negotiating objectives to address those concerns. Such an inventory of commercial sectors and practical problems is an essential starting point for developing international investment negotiating objectives.
At the same time, other interests must not be neglected. The responsibilities of Canadian and other foreign investors to the countries and communities in which they invest must be part of any discussion. Labour, environmental, and social concerns can no longer be relegated to non-binding preambles or ineffectual side agreements. And provisions need to be developed that spell out in advance how to deal with potential conflicts or inconsistencies between investor treaty rights and other international treaty obligations, such as human rights treaties or multilateral environmental agreements.
It has been suggested from some quarters that the federal government, in close collaboration with the provinces, should begin a comprehensive trade and investment policy review to involve all interested Canadians and stakeholders in the development of a new mandate for Canadian policy in the twenty-first century. The committee is interested in hearing the views of British Columbians on this suggestion and proposals on how this might be best accomplished.
What do you think?
What are British Columbias commercial interests in future and ongoing negotiations to develop a multilateral framework of rules for investment.
What other interests need to be addressed in such negotiations and how can they be balanced with the goal of investor protection?
How can British Columbians ensure that all their objectives are fully reflected in the Canadian governments international negotiating strategy?
Should federal and provincial governments collaborate in a comprehensive trade and investment policy review to involve all interested Canadians and stakeholders in the development of a new mandate for Canadian policy in the twenty-first century? If so, how could this best be accomplished?
In order to learn from the mistakes made with the MAI, Canadians need to revisit the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) investment chapter. Certain implications of its broadly worded investment protections were never clearly explained to nor understood by the public. The real-world impacts are now becoming all too apparent through a growing number of investor-state challenges. Such private, extrajudicial challenges to general, non-discriminatory public policies and regulations are rightly controversial in a democratic society under the rule of law. If there are to be new, more balanced international economic negotiations, they must build on a firm foundation, one that the NAFTA investment chapter in its current form does not provide.
|Is the MAI redeemable? In my opinion, it is not.
-- Hon. P.
Many Canadians were well-positioned to examine and debate the MAI draft once it became public. Some of the key elements of the draft MAI text the ratchet effect, investor-state, and the top-down approach were drawn from the NAFTA. These elements were familiar to many Canadian trade specialists, trade and environmental lawyers, NGO veterans of the FTA-NAFTA debates, federal and provincial officials, journalists, and many politicians. After the NAFTA investor-state challenge to Canadas MMT legislation became known, the implications of these novel features gained even broader public attention. As a result, many Europeans and others looked to Canadians and the Canadian experience for assistance in understanding the implications of the MAI. Now, following the European rejection of the MAI, it is time for Canadians to look to Europe for guidance in attempting to fix the problems with the NAFTA investment chapter.
Ultimately, key features drawn from the NAFTA investment chapter such as the ratchet effect, investor-state dispute settlement and the top-down approach proved so controversial that they undid the MAI negotiations. The official government report that led France to pull out of the MAI negotiations, the Lalumiere report, complained that the radical implications of these features were never clearly explained, even to OECD ministers. "No clear policy choice was submitted to the [OECD] Ministers: the ratchet effect is never mentioned in ministerial press releases, nor is investor-state dispute settlement. As for the top-down approach, it is mentioned only in a technical report appended to the 1995 ministerial declaration."4
|[W]hat's fundamentally necessary for a healthy industry is that people start off
with the assumption that they're here ... and that the decisions aren't based on being
somewhere else or taking money somewhere else ... but based upon a commitment to an area,
a resource, a group of people. Those are the things that make fishing work...
-- J. Sinclair,
One of the recommendations of the Lalumiere report called for the "Elimination of the concept of measure of equivalent effect to nationalization or expropriation, the interpretation of which could have the result that all public legislation and regulations that reduce the economic value of a foreign economic investment are declared non-compliant." The report also noted that this result "is effectively contained in the NAFTA."5 This blunt assessment should serve as a warning to Canadians that fundamental changes are needed to the NAFTA investment chapter.
Canadian federal government negotiators, however, never swerved from their intention to "replicate the NAFTA" investment chapter in the MAI. Even after the federal government conceded defeat in the NAFTA MMT challenge, negotiators pressed on. With the demise of the MAI negotiations, they continue to pursue this goal in bilateral investment treaties, in the FTAA negotiations to expand NAFTA throughout the hemisphere, in other international investment negotiations such as those between Canada and the Mercosur countries and with the European Free Trade Area nations and presumably, if unchallenged, this position will form the basis of the Canadian governments pursuit of multilateral investment rules through the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The only evidence of second thoughts about the NAFTA investment chapter from the federal government concerns the issue of the transparency of the investor-state dispute process. The Canadian government is conferring with its NAFTA partners to try to ensure that more details of pending investor-state challenges are publicly available. This is a positive step; all documents and proceedings should be made public. But the more fundamental issues that NAFTAs broadly worded investor protections allow private, foreign investors to challenge democratic public policies and that the investor-state process gives the same investors special rights to bypass the domestic rule of law must also be addressed. Until these fundamental issues are addressed, Canada should not be seeking to replicate the NAFTA investment chapters serious flaws when negotiating other international agreements.
What do you think?
Which elements of the NAFTA investment chapter require changes? How should they be changed?
How can Canadian governments narrow the NAFTA interpretation of expropriation to make it entirely clear that legislative or regulatory action by government in the public interest is not expropriation requiring compensation, even if it adversely affects investors profits?
What is the appropriate role for international commercial arbitration procedures in an international investment treaty?
Until NAFTAs problems are corrected, how can Canadians ensure that the NAFTAs broadly worded investment provisions and investor-state dispute procedures do not exert a chilling effect on the development of federal, provincial, and municipal governments policy?
One clear lesson of the MAI is that future international trade and investment negotiations must be made more open and democratic. Procedurally, this means earlier and much broader public consultation; earlier and more direct legislative oversight of negotiators; direct involvement of a wider range of ministers and ministries, including those responsible for culture, environmental protection, and labour; the participation of non-governmental organizations and civil society representatives in the negotiating process; full and continuous consultation with provincial and local governments; and public release of all negotiating texts and documents. Substantively, this means developing provisions that are pluralistic; far more sensitive to countries and communities particular circumstances, sensibilities, and different levels of development; respectful of host countries sovereign right to define their own economic interests; and open to the interests of a range of stakeholders, not exclusively those of foreign investors.
Although draft MAI negotiating texts were widely leaked, they were never officially released by the OECD. Only sanitized versions with all country references removed were ever made public. Thousands of supporting negotiating documents remained marked confidential. Despite these official attempts to maintain confidentiality, by the end of the talks, draft texts and official records of negotiating group meetings found their way quickly onto the Internet. Although the veil of confidentiality was never officially lifted, it was effectively pierced by NGO persistence, the help of sympathetic insiders, and the internet.
Governments have little choice but to abandon the secrecy that has traditionally cloaked international economic negotiations. One official MAI insider called the impression of secrecy in complex international economic negotiations a "political time-bomb."6 It is highly doubtful whether any investment agreement reached behind closed doors could command the legitimacy required to implement it.
There are also significant benefits to greater openness. These include directly involving all governments that are ultimately to be covered under any treaty, tapping the expertise and analysis of non-governmental actors, avoiding conflicts with other sets of rights and international treaty obligations, building broad public knowledge of and support for a multilateral framework for investment, and creating a stake in the results for a range of interests beyond just those of international investors.
|It is bizarre that we ... can have 100 different kinds of beer ... but we can
only have one type of economic system in the world ... the western model based on a
U.S.-style economic and social system...
-- M. Griffin Cohen,
A critical issue is the choice of a forum in which future negotiations should occur. The OECD has already failed and, as an organization restricted mainly to developed countries, is not capable of providing the broad global participation required. It is well-known that the government of Canada favours the WTO as the forum for negotiating multilateral investment rules. While the WTO has the advantage of a broad, global membership that includes developing countries, certain key economic powers, such as China, remain outside. More importantly, as at least one expert witness noted to the committee, the WTO "is characterized by secrecy, elitism and a thorough and institutionalized suspicion of non-governmental and trade union actors any private actors apart from corporations."7 Its record on transparency issues is, if anything, much poorer than that of the OECD.8
The United Nations, by contrast, has a nearly universal, global membership and has developed remarkably open treaty-making procedures. Non-governmental organizations are able to register to gain consultative status. They can attend negotiating meetings and participate by invitation in government delegations. And typically, negotiating texts are publicly available and negotiating sessions are open. The United Nations has traditionally been more receptive to developing countries demands that their economic development needs be considered along with the investment protection goals of foreign investors. In fact, as noted in the hearings, it was this balanced approach that convinced U.S.-based transnational corporations to abandon the UN process for developing a multilateral code on foreign investment and to begin to lobby for the shift to the OECD. Given the breakdown of the OECD process, it is time for governments to reconsider the wisdom of agreeing to that shift.
Whichever international institution is handed the responsibility for developing multilateral rules on investment, governments should ensure that they adopt the best features of the UN-style model for treaty negotiation an open and transparent process, public negotiating texts, and open negotiating sessions. As one expert witness commented: "Its not radical, actually, to suggest that trade negotiations should be open, should be observable, should be accountable and should be something that citizens can see and monitor there is no defense any longer for the secrecy ."9 Such beneficial changes are likely to be forced on even those governments that are reluctant to embrace them willingly. The new realities of the Internet and global telecommunications effectively made the MAI text an open document and analysis of it quickly available around the world.
Within Canada, both the federal and provincial governments should consider the need for new and permanent consultative mechanisms to bring together representatives of business, civil society, local governments, and other stakeholders. Full and effective participation is the first step in broadening Canadas trade and investment negotiating agenda to achieve a more inclusive form of globalization that effectively balances investor rights with responsibilities.
What do you think?
In what forum should a multilateral framework for investment be negotiated?
What kinds of new consultative mechanisms are needed to ensure that a broad range of Canadians are involved in the development of Canadas trade and investment negotiating agenda for the twenty-first century?
It must be emphasized that provincial governments are not simply another set of "stakeholders" to be consulted by the federal government en route to treaty signature and implementation. Under the Canadian constitution, the federal government is incapable of unilaterally implementing international treaty obligations in areas that fall within provincial jurisdiction. Nor is it acceptable for the federal government to use its treaty-making power to do an end run around the federal-provincial division of powers or in a way that diminishes Canadian federalism and democracy.
|[I]t's not radical actually, to suggest that trade negotiations should be open,
should be observable, should be accountable and should be something that citizens can see
and monitor... [T]here is no defense any longer for the secrecy...
Investor rights of the scale and breadth contemplated in the MAI would affect many matters that fall partly or exclusively within provincial legislative jurisdiction. Some of the more important to British Columbians include: the management and conservation of natural resources; health care, education, and other social services; the regulation of property and civil rights in the province; and municipal institutions and governments.
Some expert witnesses even argued that the draft MAI, if fully implemented, would have shifted the balance of power in Canadian federalism on a scale comparable to the formal amendments debated by Canadians in the failed Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. And, they noted, this shift, if it occurred, would disempower provincial governments, making them less capable of meeting the demands of their citizens.
The jurisdictional dimensions of international investment agreements are important issues that deserve far more serious attention. In future, federal and provincial governments must find more effective ways to work together to ensure that the Canadian governments international treaty commitments are consistent with Canadian federalism and, where they affect matters within provincial jurisdiction, are fully supported by provincial legislatures.
The rights of democratically elected local governments must also be fully respected. They too are more than mere stakeholders. While constitutionally their authority rests with the province, these elected levels of government have a long history of autonomy in local matters. British Columbias municipal governments and school trustees made clear to the committee that they were very concerned about the potential erosion of their authority under the MAI. And they were also concerned at the prospect of finding themselves confronted by foreign investors bringing multi-million dollar claims against local government measures.
|There's an old statement that I found somewhere in my studies: where there is no
vision, the people perish.... So the question I put to you, as leaders of the province,
is: what vision will you offer us...?
-- R. Leggett,
These provincial and local governments concerns are no longer merely hypothetical. The recent NAFTA investor-state challenge by a U.S. investor to British Columbias environmental policy preventing bulk water removals from the province starkly highlights the risks to provincial legislative authority of the federal governments continuing support for broadly worded investor protections backed by an investor-state dispute process.
Whether this extrajudicial challenge to B.C.s water protection policy ultimately succeeds or not, it raises disturbing questions. How is it that the federal government can expose provincial measures to binding international arbitration without the provinces consent? How can a valid provincial policy that addresses a vital environmental issue and that enjoys overwhelming public support come under direct attack in this way? Who will pay if a provincial measure is found to violate the federal governments treaty obligations? If the provincial government maintains an inconsistent measure, might the federal government be required to pay ongoing damages? Setting aside the jurisdictional issues, is it fiscally responsible for the federal government to negotiate an agreement that exposes it to open-ended liability for provincial government measures? And, faced with an adverse ruling, what steps might the federal government take to try to force provinces or municipalities to remove offending measures?
The cost to Canadian taxpayers to defend provincial and local government measures against challenge and to vet future measures for potential inconsistency also cannot be ignored. Nor, just as importantly, can Canadians ignore the cost to democracy of the chilling effect such potential threats exert on provincial and local governments ability to govern.
If Canada is to be in a position to honour its international commitments, then a treaty negotiating process that is more deferential to provincial government authority is urgently required. It is fortunate that the MAI has not gone forward as intended. But there are already issues raised by NAFTA chapter 11 that need to be resolved before international investment negotiations can resume.
As recommendation 22 indicates, the committees view is that if British Columbias support is not explicitly given, then the federal government should negotiate only with respect to federal measures. In the committees view, if the federal government fails to gain the express consent of the Legislative Assembly, then the Province must vigorously defend its authority on behalf of all British Columbians. The committee is eager to hear further from British Columbians on the important jurisdictional issues inherent in the negotiation and implementation of international investment agreements such as the MAI.
What do you think?
How can British Columbians ensure that Canadas international investment negotiating strategy and treaty commitments are consistent with Canadian federalism?
What steps must be taken to ensure that future investment treaty negotiations result in an agreement that fully respects provincial and local government authority?
How can provincial and local levels of government protect themselves from the threat of investor-state challenges?
How would you like to have a real say in the future of your community and in helping to guide the direction of future international investment negotiations?
Almost no one questions the importance of investment and the need for international investment rules. Whats at issue is the nature of these rules and the form they should take. The temporary setback to the Multilateral Agreement on Investment gives us all some time to reflect on the key issues that arise out of the MAI many of which are considered in this report. It also gives British Columbians a real opportunity to exercise leadership on the international stage. It gives you a chance to consider what kind of multilateral rules would best serve B.C. communities. It gives you an opportunity to make your voice count.
The MAI negotiations have ended in Paris. But already new efforts to reincarnate MAI provisions are underway. The Canadian government worked hard to conclude the MAI and now is pressing for an MAI-style agreement at the World Trade Organization. The United States and key international big business organizations continue to push for similar investment provisions wherever the opportunity presents itself.
Its too early to tell whether the focus of international investment negotiations will shift to the World Trade Organization in talks that could begin next year, to ongoing bilateral investment treaty negotiations, to the International Monetary Fund, to negotiations on an expanded NAFTA the Free Trade for the Americas Agreement or through all these forums. But negotiations will recommence. And when they do, B.C.s special legislative committee wants the province to be prepared. Too often citizens and governments have been forced to react to agreements like NAFTA after the fact, when they are already signed, sealed, and delivered. This time, British Columbians can help determine the direction of future negotiations.
Before serious negotiations resume on another investment agreement, it is important to establish the goals and determine the problems such an agreement may be expected to address. Many questions need to be asked right from the start. This is an excellent place for your participation to begin.
What do you think?
What kind of community do you want, and who should decide its future?
What would an MAI-style agreement mean for you and your community?
What do you think are the most important issues for an international agreement to address?
How do you think we can best protect and improve our unique health care and education systems in the face of outside market pressures?
How do you think the province should make sure that international investment in our valuable public resources creates good jobs for our families and friends here in British Columbia?
What steps do you think are necessary to help stabilize the global economy?
How can we work together in British Columbia to gain a greater say in future international negotiations? And in how globalization proceeds?
What do you think should be some of the guiding principles for a balanced approach to international trade and investment agreements?
What other questions do you think need to be asked and answered?
Beginning early in the New Year, the committee will hold a second series of meetings throughout the province to hear the views of British Columbians like you. Meetings are currently planned for Surrey, Vancouver, Terrace, Victoria, Courtenay, Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, and Cranbrook. Other communities may be added, if sufficient interest is expressed.
Come attend one of these public meetings. Just sit and listen. Or come to pose questions or provide answers in an informal setting. But do attend! The committee is keenly interested in hearing your views on these important issues.
Help British Columbia play a leadership role. Together with this Special Committee of the Legislature, help define new approaches that hold the most promise for increasing the quality of life at home in our communities and for promoting greater economic and social stability around the world.
For more information on these committee meetings in the new year and on how you can participate, contact the
Clerk of Committees Office,
Victoria, British Columbia,
Phone: (250) 356-2933
Toll Free: 1-877-4-CTTEES (28-337)
Fax: (250) 356-8172
We hope to hear from you soon!
1 "France pulls out of MAI talks" Heather Scoffield, Globe and Mail, October 15, 1998. Translation of Official Transcript, October 14, 1998, Question Period, afternoon sitting of the French National Assembly, 9th day of the 21st session, p. 4.
2 Reported in David Crane, "Don't forget workers', blue-chip summit warned," Toronto Star, Feb. 1, 1998.
3 Shortly thereafter the Premier of British Columbia responded to the resolution by writing to the Prime Minister to convey the Committee's concerns and the Province's position.
4 "Report on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) Interim Report -- September 1998. Catherine Lalumiere, Member of the European Parliament, Jean-Pierre Landau, Inspector-General, Finance, p. 5.
5 ibid. p. 9n. (emphasis in original)
6 Jan Huner, assistant to the chair of the MAI Negotiating Group, paper delivered to conference on "Trade, Investment and Environment", Royal Institute for International Affairs, October, 1998.
7 J. Foster, October 14, 1998, p. 350.
8 Although the record of the MAI Negotiating Group in this respect was poor, the OECD proper has a tradition of regular, formal consultations with international business, trade unions, and, more recently on an informal basis, with environmental organisations. It also consults on an ad hoc basis with non-members and non-governmental actors. The WTO has not developed any formal processes for involving non-governmental representatives and developing countries complain that important decisions, particularly concerning negotiating issues, are made by an elite group of developed countries.
9 Michelle Swenarchuk, September 29, p. 66.
[ PREVIOUS | CONTENTS | NEXT ]
Copyright © 1998: Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada