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Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI)

This is no longer being updated by Public Citizen and exists for archival purposes only.

Background Information on the MAI

Epitomized by MAI, the primary objective of the corporate “investment” agenda is to ensure the ability of speculators and multinational corporations to move capital in and out of countries without governmental involvement or public interests rules. We have seen the negative impacts of this model on the macroeconomic stability of nations, the sovereignty of governments, the well-being of workers and farmers, and the survival of small, independent businesses. In this system, worker rights, environmental protection, and necessary government regulation of the economy take a back seat to the interests of private capital.

What rights do speculators and multinational corporations demand?

  • the right to compete against domestic companies in all economic sectors;
  • the right to acquire any business or property in any economic sector, including natural resources and strategic industries such as communications and defense;
  • the right to convert currency and move money across borders without constraints, fostering the sorts of currency crises that collapses the Mexican peso and caused the 1997 Asian financial meltdown;
  • the right to move production facilities without limit or penalty, regardless of the impacts on workers or the host community;
  • freedom from conditions (called performance requirements) placed on investment to counter speculation and ensure that corporations meet basic rules of conduct; and
  • the right to sue governments for cash damages (paid from public funds) for restitution if an investor claims its rights have been violated under the agreement.

Talking Points for the MAI

“Everything You Wanted to Know about the MAI–But Didn’t Know to Ask”

In Depth

Additional Resources