Errors-To: <>
Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 12:44:31 -0400
From: John Hammell <>
Subject: IAHF LIST: PLEASE SIGN THIS: US Sign-On letter against the MAI

IAHF List: This is a sign on letter against the Multilateral Agreement on
Investments, which is the next scam after NAFTA/GATT to come along and it
must be STOPPED! You can help by signing onto this letter as I just did and
send it back to by tuesday. If you represent to an
organization, ESPECIALLY sign it! If we don't stop MAI, we won't have any
recourse to stop Codex, because there won't even be a PRETENSE of
constitutional protection if it passes. Under MAI, a corporation can SUE a
government if they don't like some law. So, under MAI, lets say Hoechst,
Bayer, or BASF didn't like DSHEA or the Promire Act, which protect our
access to dietary supplements. They could sue and force us to repeal these
laws because they interfere with the Pharma-Cartel's profits! It would be
an UNMITIGATED DISASTER if MAI were to pass! If it passes, I wouldn't be
able to do ANYTHING to stop CODEX! So please help me out here

At 02:10 PM 10/7/98 -0400, you wrote:
>For groups in the United States
>** Sign- on letter against MAI: respond by Tuesday, Oct 13 **
>Dear friends,
>The MAI negotiating group meets October 21 and 22 after a 6 month hiatus.
>Over the past year, NGOs have sent sign on letters to Barshefsky and
>Albright, CC'd to other administration officials and members of Congress, a
>week or so before important negotiating sessions, to influence the US
>negotiating position. In the past these letters have been discussed in the
>government's inter-agency meetings and had some effect according to the
>people in the administration who share some of our concerns with the MAI.
>It will be very useful to send a letter before Oct 20 because we need to
>remind the government that we are paying attention after the 6 month "period
>of assessment." The main focus of governments at the October negotiating
>meeting will probably be to map out how to proceed with the MAI. They will
>be on the defensive given the problems finishing the MAI in the past and the
>current financial crises.
>Below is a sign on letter calling on the US government to abandon MAI
>negotiations and  describing the kinds of alternative approaches to
>investment regulation that citizens might favor. If your organization would
>like to endorse the letter, please e-mail me : by the
>end of the day on Tuesday, October 13.
>mark vallianatos, friends of the earth
>The Secretary of State
>Department of State
>2201 C Street, NW
>Washington, DC 20520
>The Honorable Charlene Barshefsky   United States Trade Representative
>600 17th Street, NW
>Washington, DC 20506
>We are writing to you as representatives of a broad cross section of civil
>society concerning the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). As the US
>prepares for the resumption of formal negotiations on October 21, we remain
>united in strong opposition to the MAI. Given the precarious state of the
>world economy and the impacts of foreign investment on the daily lives of
>people here and abroad, we wish to underscore that the MAI is the wrong
>approach for regulating investment internationally. We would support rules
>on investment that empower citizens, promote economic stability, and protect
>the environment.
>Measured against these values the MAI falls short. We hope that laying out a
>rough outline of the kind of investment agreement the representatives of
>civil society on this letter would favor will allow you to better understand
>the depth of our opposition to the MAI. We also intend this letter as an
>invitation for the administration to revamp US investment policy in a
>pro-people, pro- environment direction fit for the 21st century.
>We reiterate our opposition to the MAI as negotiated. Despite criticism and
>engagement by citizens and members of Congress, the draft MAI retains the
>basic flaws that have led to broad public opposition. Governments' proposed
>environmental and labor amendments are in many cases cosmetic and do not
>ensure that regulatory protections take precedence over investor rights. As
>we work to defeat the MAI we will do so with the confidence that civil
>society has tried to play a constructive role.
>Developments over the last year have increased our concerns. The continuing
>financial crises spreading worldwide show that liberalization is not a
>sufficient basis for a sustainable, equitable economy. The world needs
>sensible regulation of speculative investment which undercuts development as
>well as oversight of burgeoning mergers and acquisitions that concentrate
>corporate power. The MAI would instead increase excessive capital mobility
>and narrow the possible actions governments can take to ward-off
>destabilizing inflows and outflows of capital. The administration's actions
>on the MAI will be an important test case: does the US government have its
>head buried in the sand or will it heed the call of non-governmental
>organizations, major newspapers and economists to rethink our approach to
>economic globalization?
>Further, the settlement of the NAFTA investment case of Ethyl Corporation
>vs. the Government of Canada has confirmed our concerns over the
>anti-democratic powers that the MAI would grant to corporate investors vis a
>vis elected governments. The investor to state dispute resolution and
>expropriation and compensation rules that Ethyl utilized are among the
>provisions that must be eliminated from any investment agreement if it is to
>win the support of civil society.
>The time is right for the U.S. and other governments to abandon this flawed
>model that brought us the MAI draft and begin the process of regulating
>investment with full citizen participation. International rules governing
>foreign investment should be based on people's economic, environmental and
>social priorities. And multinational corporations and financial investors
>should be held accountable to these citizen-defined priorities.
>We call on governments to restart negotiations for an international
>investment agreement in a forum that allows for democratic public input and
>the participation of all the world's countries. The World Trade Organization
>(WTO) is not such a transparent forum and we will oppose efforts to shift
>the MAI to the WTO.
>We believe that democratic negotiations would result in a different approach
>to the regulation of foreign investment. Our vision of an investment
>agreement begins with the baseline that governments on all levels should
>retain the flexibility to regulate investment to meet public needs. As
>opposed to the excessive rights granted to corporations in the MAI, we
>believe that investors should be required to meet minimum environmental,
>labor, human rights and social standards wherever they operate.
>Citizens should be empowered to hold investors accountable to these
>standards. In place of investor to state dispute resolution, an investment
>agreement should ensure that domestic or international enforcement
>mechanisms are accessible to the public.
>Finally, an agreement on investment should encourage rather than eliminate
>controls on short-term investment. Investment negotiations should lead to
>international cooperation to discourage destabilizing financial flows.
>The details of these proposals will only be worked out through a democratic
>process of consultation. We would welcome the opportunity for citizens to
>channel their engagement on international economic issues in this direction.
>If not, we stand ready to continue our political opposition to the MAI and
>similar unbalanced rules wherever they are proposed. We will base our
>decisions on the government's actions in the next months.

John Hammell, International Advocates for Health Freedom
2411 Monroe St. #3
Hollywood, FL 33020 USA

>Mark Vallianatos
>Friends of the Earth
>ph: 202-783-7400 x231
>fax: 202-783-0444
>Margrete Strand Rangnes
>MAI Project Coordinator
>Public Citizen Global Trade Watch
>215 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
>Washington DC, 20003
>202-546 4996, ext. 306
>202-547 7392 (fax)
>To subscribe to our MAI Listserv send an e-mail to, or
>subscribe directly by going to our website,
International Advocates for Health Freedom
2411 Monroe St. #3 Hollywood, FL 33020 USA
800-333-2553, overseas 954-929-2905
fax 954-929-0507,,
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