Date: Wed, 11 Feb 1998 14:13:53 -0500 (EST)
From: John Hammell <>
Subject: FWD: MAI ACTION ALERT Packet; MAI to Override UN Covenants

Please follow the instructions below to protest
Multilateral Agreement on Investments. This is the biggest threat to all of
our freedoms, including health freedom, that we've ever had. If MAI were to
pass, it would allow multinational corporations to sue federal, state, and
provencial governments whenever any law interferes with their profits. For
more urls with information on MAI, please visit the IAHF website. After you
take action, please forward this to more people.

>>Return-Path: <>
>Errors-To: <>
>Date: Sat, 7 Feb 1998 09:25:42 -0600 (CST)
>To: Carol Liu <>
>From: Carol Liu <>
>Subject: FWD: MAI ACTION ALERT Packet; MAI to Override UN Covenants
> Forwarded message..........
>Date: Wed, 4 Feb 1998 19:17:37 -0500 (EST)
>From: Andrea Durbin <>
>I.   Suggestions for Week of Action Against the MAI
>II.   Sample Letter to Governments
>III.   Sample Questions to Ask Your Government
>IV.   Request for updates on actions in your country
>V.   Contacts for more information
>Dear Friends,
>Negotiations for the OECD's Multilateral Agreement on Investment will
>reach a critical point on February 16 and 17 when each country will send
>top ranking political officials to Paris to assess whether and how to
>complete negotiations. NGOs around the world are planning actions from
>February 7-17  to let negotiators know they will face strong public
>opposition if they finish the agreement to meet an April 1998 deadline.
>Because OECD governments face internal disagreements in negotiations,
>public criticism in these countries can help tip the balance and prevent
>governments from finishing the MAI.
>It is also important for groups in non-OECD countries to take a stand to
>undermine the efforts of the OECD and Northern corporations to pressure
>developing countries to sign the MAI.
>We urge you to take some action against the MAI during this time. Good
>Mark Vallianatos & Andrea Durbin, Friends of the Earth-USA
>1. LOBBY/PRESSURE NEGOTIATIONS- Write a letter to the government raising
>questions about the impacts of the MAI and stating your own opposition to
>the MAI. Most OECD countries are sending high level political officials
>rather than technical negotiators to the next critical negotiating session
>on the 16th and 17th of February. If you can find out who they are, target
>them directly. Otherwise, a letter to the finance or trade ministry will
>2. INCREASE GRASSROOTS PRESSURE- If you have local chapters or activists
>that can respond to alerts, request them to fax, call, e-mail or write the
>negotiators/Finance Ministry.
>3. INCREASE PRESS COVERAGE- Your actions can be used to attract media
>coverage. Next Tuesday we will send a sample press release describing the
>international opposition and activity around the world.
>4. PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS- In the US, NGOs will stage a rally on the steps
>of  congress and distribute handcuffs to Members of Congress to show how
>the MAI will tie their hands from regulating foreign corporations
>5. TARGET CORPORATIONS DIRECTLY- In the UK, NGOs are protesting outside
>the headquarters of some of the multinational corporations that actively
>lobby for the MAI and will benefit most if the agreement is finished. For
>an expose of corporate lobbying for the MAI contact Corporate Europe
>Observatory (
>disagreements on reservations, culture, investment boycotts, and
>environmental and labor provisions before they finish the MAI. Public
>pressure exploiting these disagreements can make it more difficult for
>negotiators to conclude negotiations. For more information on this
>strategy contact Tony Clarke of the Polaris Institute (
>Dear ___
>We are seriously concerned about the OECD's negotiations for a
>Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). On February 16-17 the
>countries negotiating the MAI will make the political decision whether the
>agreement can be completed by the April 1998 OECD ministerial meeting. We
>strongly urge you to use this opportunity to end negotiations. The MAI
>would elevate the powers of foreign investors in our country and impede
>our ability to determine our own economic policies for many years to come.
>It will also have a significant impact on the environment and communities
>in our country and abroad.
>Countries that sign the MAI cannot withdraw from the agreement for five
>years, after which the MAI's rules still apply to existing foreign
>investments for 15 more years. Joining the MAI will therefore lock us into
>an economic model which aims to benefit foreign investors rather than
>local communities. Rushing to complete the agreement is unacceptable since
>there has been little or no consultations with Members of Parliament or
>members of the public potentially affected by the MAI, such as workers,
>small businesses, and environmental organizations.
>We believe that signing the MAI would hinder our country's flexibility to
>move towards a more environmentally and socially sustainable society
>because of the provisions of the agreement and because the agreement does
>not require corporations to protect the environment and respect human and
>worker rights. We therefore call on the Government to end its involvement
>in MAI negotiations. We will oppose the agreement if it completed and
>brought to the parliament for ratification.
>    Sincerely,
>Dear ___
>We write for clarification of the government's position on the
>Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD)
>Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and to urge that ___ (fill in
>country name) not join this investment agreement. It is our understanding
>that the government may already have been in contact with the OECD about
>signing the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. We are alarmed that the
>government is seriously consider joining the MAI, an agreement that our
>country had no role in negotiating and that is virtually unknown in our
>country, when the MAI would elevate the rights of foreign investors above
>our ability to determine our own economic policies for many years to come.
>The MAI is intended to restrict the ability of governments to regulate
>foreign-owned corporations. The agreement will:
>* Give foreign corporations the right to invest in virtually all sectors
>of the economy.
>* Bar governments from giving local companies preference over
>foreign-owned companies.
>* Prevent governments from imposing some conditions on foreign investors
>such as requirements to operate in joint ventures, hire a minimum number
>of local people, or transfer technology.
>* Require governments to pay foreign investors in the case of
>expropriations, including environmental regulations or social protections
>that may have "the effect" of expropriation.
>* Let foreign investors transfer financial capital in and out of countries
>without delays despite the dangers of short-term speculative investment
>demonstrated by the troubles in Asia markets.
>* Let foreign investors sue governments for monetary damages to enforce
>the MAI.
>Countries that sign the MAI cannot withdraw from the agreement for five
>years, after which the MAI's rules still apply to existing foreign
>investments for 15 more years. Joining the MAI will therefore lock us into
>an economic model which aims to benefit foreign investors rather than our
>country's needs and priorities. We believe that signing the MAI would
>hinder our flexibility to move towards a more environmentally and socially
>sustainable society because of the provisions of the agreement and because
>the agreement does not require corporate investors to protect the
>environment and respect human and worker rights.
>Negotiations between OECD countries are supposed to conclude at the end of
>April 1998.  Non- OECD countries will then be invited to sign on to an
>agreement that they did not take part in negotiating. It is clear from
>OECD negotiators that a major aim of this agreement is to expand the
>number of countries and to include developing countries.
>We therefore call on our Government not to sign on to the MAI. The OECD's
>MAI was not written to meet the needs of our people, but to advance the
>goals of corporate investors from OECD nations. We also ask our Government
>to make a strong public statement against the MAI process which would help
>ensure that our interests are not ignored in the future.. We await your
>response to our concerns.
>    Sincerely,
>The following are sample questions that can be posed directly to
>Governments or planted with sympathetic Members of Parliament to ask. The
>questions are designed to expose flaws in the MAI and the way the
>agreement was negotiated, and particularly, to show that Governments have
>not sufficiently explored the implications of the MAI.
>1. What has the government done to inform the public of MAI negotiations
>and seek public input?
>2. What reservations is the government asking for to protect our national
>interests? Are they limited to protection of certain existing laws or do
>they extend to the right to regulate freely in the future?
>3. Has the government performed assessments of the MAI's likely effects on
>the environment, workers, and the economy? If so, were public comments
>sought in this process and are the assessments available to the public?
>4. Have regulatory agencies such as the environmental and labor ministries
>been involved in developing the government's negotiating position? If so,
>which ones?
>5. ( for non-OECD countries): Would signing the MAI give the OECD
>countries an incentive to continue to negotiate agreements without
>allowing us a seat at the bargaining table?
>(for OECD countries): Will pressing developing countries to sign the MAI
>undercut the efforts of our overseas development assistance and other
>forms of cooperation with non-OECD countries? Is it the government's
>position that it is appropriate to negotiate international treaties
>affecting all countries without allowing all countries to participate?
>6. Wouldn't the 20 year withdrawal period restrict our nation's ability to
>meet the needs of our population? Why does the MAI have such an extended
>withdrawal period when most international treaties allow 6 months notice
>to withdraw?
>7. Is there time before the end of negotiations {before ratification} to
>address our concerns and ensure full public debate?
>8. Why is it that measures to protect corporate investors are enforceable,
>but the environmental and labor provisions are non- binding? What is the
>government's position on requiring binding environmental and labor
>standards in the MAI?
>The international week of action will have the greatest impact if we can
>show the wide range of activities planned and taken by NGOs around the
>world. Please send a short summary of planned actions that your
>organization will be taking to FoE ( as soon as possible.
>We will compile these summaries and send everyone a full list of
>international actions for use next week. This should be available by
>Tuesday, February 10. Also, special thanks to those of you who have helped
>distribute the October 1997 Joint NGO statement on the MAI. Hundreds of
>new NGOs have signed the statement. We will send the statement with
>updated signatures by next Tuesday as well.
>If you want to take part in anti-MAI activities over the next two weeks
>but are not sure which organizations in your country are already planning
>actions, we can suggest NGOs to contact that are aware of anti-MAI
>activities in their country and region.
>Please Contact:
>Mark Vallianatos
>Friends of the Earth US
>1025 Vermont Ave, NW Washington DC 20005
>tel- 202 783 7400 x231
>fax- 202 784 0444
>Andrea Durbin Friends
>of the Earth U.S. 1025 Vermont Avenue, NW 3rd Fl Washington, DC 20005
>tel: 202-783-7400, ext. 209
>fax: 202-783-0444
> Bob Olsen Toronto   (:-)
>From: Bob Olsen <>
>Subject: MAI Overides UN Covenants
> Forwarded message........
>Date: Thu, 05 Feb 1998 02:35:00 -0500
>From: Roger Greenwald <>
>Subject: add'l point re MAI
>Most international agreements signed up till now under the auspices
>of world organizations like WTO have included clauses that say, in
> Nothing in this agreement shall be interpreted in such a way
> as to curtail the rights or limit the obligations of signatory
> states under the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
> the Covenant on Social and Economic Rights, the Covenant on
> Civil and Political Rights etc (long list, or general reference
> to all covenants).
>The MAI contains NO SUCH PROVISION. This is effect tries to
>take away all the rights negotiated under all the other
>agreements, by giving the transnationals the power to supersede
>those agreements via the MAI.
>Roger Greenwald, Innis College, University of Toronto
>web home page:
>(featuring my books and a large page of Scandinavian Links)
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International Advocates for Health Freedom
John C. Hammell, Legislative Advocate
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