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NGO MAI Post Ministerial Response

To our Countries' Prime Ministers, Presidents and Parliaments:

We have carefully reviewed the Ministerial Declaration, OECD Declaration on the MAI and April 24, 1998 MAI text. We welcome your acknowledgment of the need for more public debate on the MAI as well as the broader implications of globalization. Your actions to date, however, have failed to address any of the core concerns now being raised in many countries.

We are concerned that, instead of agreeing to rework the many flawed provisions and concepts in the MAI draft text, the major initiative concerning MAI agreed at this OECD Ministerial meeting was to launch a public relations campaign to "sell" the deal. The MAI's failure to date is not one of pubic relations, but substance. Moreover, the statement by OECD Chair Donald Johnston that the MAI's current problems are the result of nothing more than misunderstanding and misinformation on the part of critics was an insult to the national and sub-federal parliamentarians, government ministers, scholars and activists in all of our countries whose careful analysis of the MAI text is the basis for their concerns.

We are left with no ambiguity in acknowledging the marked division between recent political rhetoric about recognizing our concerns and the reality of an unchanged legal text. Indeed, the text remains little changed and the Declarations reiterate the continued commitment to core aspects of the proposal we find deeply troubling, for instance the regulatory takings mechanism of expropriation, investor-to-state dispute resolution, and national treatment for establishment rights. Further, a vast majority of non-OECD countries continue to be excluded from meaningful participation in the negotiating process though this agreement is clearly intended to include developing countries.

While the Ministerial Declaration notes that the negotiators understand the Expropriation mechanism is not meant to undermine regular regulatory activity, we note that the actual binding text of the MAI provides no such language. Indeed, the vague, expansive language guaranteeing compensation for any government action having the "equivalent effect" of indirect expropriation has remained completely unchanged in this text.

Similarly, despite continued statements intended to calm growing concerns about the MAI's grant of broad investor rights to self-enforce the MAI's expansive and vague terms as against any signatory country, these provisions also remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, as regards the new language on environment, labor and lowering standards to attract investment: the recent WTO ruling on the Turtle-Shrimp case further weakens the GATT Article XX environmental "exceptions" that many NGOs have already declared to be insufficient to fix the MAI's environmental flaws. The non-binding proposed MAI language based on NAFTA provision 1114 concerning pledges not to lower standards to attract investment is, of course not a meaningful clause in the an agreement full of binding, enforceable investor rights.

In addition, the negotiator's call for continued work at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on developing broad global investment deregulation terms underscores the negotiators' failure to respect our concerns. We oppose "moving" negotiations to the WTO or the instigation of parallel investment deregulation negotiations there. At issue is not merely whether the OECD is the proper forum for global investment negotiations, but rather the extreme deregulatory agenda underlying the current MAI draft text. We can promise that regardless of the fora -- WTO, the proposed expansion of the International Monetary Fund's charter or elsewhere -- we will maintain our focus on the underlying agenda.

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, will appreciate quick implementation of the promised new commitment to transparency and public consultation in the Ministerial Declaration to help us monitor MAI negotiating activities during the next six months leading up to the planned October meeting. The experience of the WTO negotiations on Financial Services taught us that this next six month period will likely be one of intense bilateral and group negotiating sessions. We pledge to follow future MAI negotiations with the same spotlight of public scrutiny we have applied to date.

Afro-Asiatisches Institut Salzburg - Austria

Agora - Associacao para Projetos de Combate a Fome - Italy

ARGE fur Kriegsdientsverweigerung und Gewaltfreiheit - Austria

The Africa Groups of Sweden

Alliance for Democracy - USA

Berne Declaration - Switzerland

Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence-Austria

Canadian Environmental Law Association

Center for International Environmental Law

Central and Eastern European Bankwatch Network (International) - Hungary

Community Nutrition Institute

Council of Canadians - Canada

The Corner House - UK

Corporate Europe Observatory - Amsterdam

Defenders of Wildlife - USA

Ecoropa - France

Enviro-Clare - Canada

Friends of the Earth - USA, England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Finnish Association of World Shops - Finland

Greenalternative Youth - Austria

Green Party of Aotearoa/New Zealand

Green Party of England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Germanwatch - Germany

Habitat International Coalition (HIC)-Mexico

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy - USA

IRED

Observatoire de la Mondialisation - France

Maailmankauppojen liitto ry / Finnish Association of World Shops - Finland

MAI-frei-Innsbruck - Austria

Medico International - Germany

Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (Red Mexicana de Accion frente al Libre Comercio)

Milieudefensie Groningen - Netherlands Milieudefensie Utrecht - Netherlands

National Society of Conservationists/FoE Hungary

People's Decade of Human Rights Education (PDHRE) - USA

People's Forum 2001-Japan

Polaris Institute - Canada

Polish Ecological Club Green Consumer Campaign

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch - USA

Red Electoral Alliance - Norway

Scottish Green Party

Towards a Different Europe - Amsterdam

Uniting Church Ministry with the Ageing - Australia

Vorarlberg for a MAI-Free Austria

World Economy, Ecology & Development (WEED) - Germany

World Development Movement - UK

World Wildlife Fund

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