Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twelfth Report

Negotiations at the OECD on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment.
Legal base:
Department:Trade and Industry
Basis of consideration:Minister's letter of 25 February 1999
Previous consideration:HC 36-xvii (1996-97), paragraph 18 (12 March 1997),
HC 155-xxi (1997-98), paragraph 3 (11 March 1998),
HC 155-xxv (1 997-98), paragraph 4 (22 April 1998),
HC 155-xxviii (1997-98), paragraph 1 (13 May 1998),
HC 946 (1997-98), Minutes of Evidence of 8 July 1998 and HC 34-vii (1998-99), paragraph 3 (27 January 1999)
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Cleared


  9.1  Negotiations on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment were suspended in October 1998. This followed the announcement by the French Government that it was withdrawing from the negotiations. When we last considered this document[17] we did not clear it, but asked for some explanation for the decision by the French Government to withdraw.

  9.2  The Minister (Mr Brian Wilson) reports in a letter to the Committee of 25 February 1999, that the French decision to withdraw was made following consideration of a report on the negotiations drawn up by a French MEP, Madame Lalumiere. He refers the Committee to a statement given by Prime Minister Jospin to the Assemblée Nationale on 10 October 1998 announcing the decision to withdraw.

  9.3  Mr Jospin stated that the Lalumiere Report had identified a number of fundamental problems with the Agreement, particularly relating to matters of national sovereignty. Madame Lalumiere had also concluded that so many reservations were being incorporated into the Agreement, that any value for French investors would be limited. Mr Jospin noted that in February 1998, the French Government had identified respect for cultural differences as a requirement for French support for the Agreement.


  9.4  The Minister has directed the Committee to the French Prime Minister's statement identifying France's reasons for withdrawing from the MAI. It is now obvious that there will be no further negotiations on the basis of this text. Accordingly, we now clear the document.

17  HC 34-vii (1998-99), paragraph 3 (27 January 1999). Back

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Prepared 26 March 1999