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Indicators MAI Non

International negotiators for the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) are facing increasing opposition to the global trade pact within their own countries. British Columbia's provincial government has officially opposed the MAI and is urging the rest of the provinces to do the same in an attempt to sway the Canadian federal government, which is part of the negotiations. The US Congress passed an amendment last October that forces the US Trade Representative's office to notify Congress if trade deals such as MAI would affect existing domestic laws. (See YES! #4

).

 

Parliamentary debates on the MAI have started in New Zealand and France, and opposition is growing in Australia and the Netherlands.

 

Resistance to the trade deal is continuing among the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well. On October 22, a coalition of 22 international and national NGOs met with MAI negotiators in Paris to formally voice their opposition to the trade deal.

 

After an all-day meeting, MAI negotiators were clear that their intent is to finish negotiating the trade deal in time for the heads of state to ratify the MAI at their annual meeting in May 1998.

 

The coalition of NGOs left the meeting disgruntled, issuing a statement that called for negotiators to "abandon the draft treaty, unless it is radically reformed."

 

The NGOs refused an offer to meet again with negotiators, because they felt none of their demands had been taken seriously. Some US officials are speculating privately that opposition may force negotiators to postpone ratification of the MAI.

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