(en) MAI in Fast Track

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 16:14:05 +0000

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========================================= ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Fri, 19 Sep 1997 09:16:14 From: Terry Cottam <di238@freenet.carleton.ca>


In the United States, a pivotal moment in the anti-MAI fight has just started turning.Today the President finally presented his "fast track" bill which will soon be voted on by Congress. (For those of you who do not know what fast track is, please refer to our website www.citizen.org/gtw or email me for further information ctaylor@citizen.org)

Since the bill does NOT explicitly EXCLUDE the MAI - the President can call on Congress to ratify the MAI using fast track.

*What does that mean?*

When the OECD completes a draft and the Ministerial approves it, the MAI will be sent to each member country for ratification. At that time, the President could apply his fast track authority. "Fast Track rules call for the Congress to vote... without amendment within 60 'legislative days'" and with limited debate.

Aside from all the environment, labor, human rights, sovereignty, sustainable development and other issues that are threatened by the MAI - once a country signs the agreement they are bound to its terms for 20 YEARS! This is not an issue that can be hastily forced through Congress!

Here's the exact language in the official fast track BILL:

"Sec.2.(b)PRINCIPAL TRADE NEGOTIATING OBJECTIVES.- (3) FOREIGN INVESTMENT.- The principal negotiating objective of the United States regarding foreign investment is to reduce or eliminate artificial or trade-distorting barriers to United States foreign investment by - (A) reducing or eliminating exceptions to the principle of national treatment; (B) freeing the transfer of funds relating to investment; (C) reducing or eliminating performance requirements and other unreasonable barriers to the establishment and operation of investments; (D) establishing standards for expropriation and compensation for expropriation consistent with United States legal principals and practice; and (E) providing meaningful procedures for resolving investment disputes."

*What you must do if you live in the United States*

Call Your Representative or his/her "Trade Staffer" Toll Free ASAP. CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD******1-888-723-5246 Declare Your Opposition to the MAI and "Fast Track"

Here's three talking points:

1) Fast Track authority for the President is undemocratic and unnecessary.

The President claims they NEED fast track to negotiate major trade deals. The MAI is a shining example that his claims are FALSE. The US has been one of the primary supporters of the MAI negotiations which began in 1995 WITHOUT fast track. AND, Fast Track itself subverts democratic process by requiring that Congress relinquish their power to amend and debate legislation.

2) The MAI could be approved using Fast Track.

Explicit language in the bill would allow the President to force the agreement through Congress using fast track.

3) The MAI is far too controversial to be rushed through Congress with little time for public or political scrutiny.

The MAI would give corporations the legal power to sue governments directly for monetary compensation. It limits what governments can do to regulate corporate behavior and accountability. And it binds all member countries for 20 years.

It is very important that you call your representative or his/her staffer TODAY and make sure they tell you exactly how they plan to vote on FAST TRACK.

Fast Track is the WRONG track - for the MAI, NAFTA expansion and other free trade agreements that bolster the rights of corporations and undermine democratic sovereignty.

If you have any questions at all, please contact me at ctaylor@citizen.org.

Chantell Taylor Field Organizer Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch 215 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Washington, D.C. 20003 phone: (202)546-4996 fax: (202)547-7392 ctaylor@citizen.org

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