Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Annex F


Multilateral Agreement on Investment, Third Report of 1998-99, HEC 112: Government Response, Fifth Special Report, HC 309

  1.  In the course of 1998, NGOs concerned with the effects of globalisation on development mounted a concerted campaign against a Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which had been the subject of negotiations within OECD since 1995. In July 1998, in view of mounting interest, the Committee decided to inquire into MAI as part of its wider interest in ethical trade policies, in order to examine the proposal in detail and establish the true situation. In October 1998 the withdrawal of the French Government effectively ended the prospects for an Agreement. The Committee heard oral evidence in November 1998 and reported in December 1998.

  2.  The Committee expressed doubt over the need for an MAI, given the existing bilateral agreements, and was critical of the way the MAI had been negotiated. It made a number of detailed recommendations on the maintenance of environmental, labour and other standards by the UK, and on the contents of any future MAI.

  3.  The Government's Reply, received in March 1999, restated its belief that a multilateral agreement on investment would in principle be desirable, and accepted most of the Committee's conclusions.

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