Renato Ruggerio, Director General of the World Trade Organization
A powerful movement is afoot in government these days. It does not originate with the masses of voters, as they are almost wholly ignorant of it. It does not originate in Congress, as Congress is also ill-informed and skeptical of its motives. This movement originates in the large, financial interests in the United States and abroad and is promoted by its hireling, the Clinton Administration. It is called "free trade", but there is nothing free about it. If Friday's House vote (November 7th, 1997) on Clinton's "fast track" request fails, it will not stop the "free traders". If it passes, the rails will be greased for the upcoming Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), a trade agreement hailed as the constitution of a single global economy - and the end of national sovereignty.
"Fast track" trade negotiating authority is something that began with the Nixon Administration and was renewed every two years until it expired after NAFTA was ratified. "Fast track" was only used five times. President Clinton wants a renewed and expanded "fast track" authority that will enable him to submit a trade agreement to Congress which will then have sixty legislative days to consider and vote on it. Debate will be limited to twenty hours in each chamber and a final "yes" or "no" vote will be required with no changes or amendments. The renewed "fast track" authority will be good for eight years, and specifically prohibits the president from negotiating provisions that will protect labor or the environment.
At this time Clinton's "fast track" legislation is in a state of flux. Clinton still lacks the votes he needs for passage and on Monday, November 3, he promised to make efforts to protect labor and the environment, attempting to placate concerns about a "race to the bottom" in global living standards. The current "free trade" push is charged with secrecy and cover-up, and the promoters behind it forceful and impatient. Stealth tactics used by the Clinton Administration and the OECD have been clear evidences of the character of those who would rule the earth through the emerging global economy.
When Congress learned that the MAI would be fast-tracked, it asked the president in writing to exclude the MAI from the upcoming "fast track" legislation. The president responded by sending over "fast track" legislation that did not specifically name the MAI, but included a vaguely worded list of "trade negotiating objectives" that perfectly described the MAI, and that his administration will pursue under the renewed "fast track" authority. "It's a little confusing to all of us here," Antonia Juhasz, MAI project coordinator for the Preamble Center for Public Policy in Washington told The WINDS. "Even the trade lawyers are running around saying, 'What does that mean?'" She also said, "The administration will say to its grave that it does not intend to fast-track MAI, but the counter to that is, 'Well, why didn't you explicitly exclude it?' and the reason why they are so vehement [in their denial] right now is because they don't want it to damage "fast track". They want to pass "fast track", and keep their options open for the MAI."
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a forum based in Paris, France, where governments of mostly wealthy countries conduct negotiations over the formulation of trade policy. Secret negotiations over the MAI began at the OECD in May of 1995. "It wasn't until late '96 that anybody even caught wind of it ," Chantell Taylor of Public Citizen Global Trade Watch told The WINDS, "and when we tried to contact [the Clinton] Administration and ask them about this they said, 'No, no there's no agreement. It's just an informal discussion, there's nothing formulated.' Canada was also saying the same thing and we were also getting the same thing in London and everybody just kept saying, 'Oh no, it's just an informal discussion.'" In November of 1996 some French activists obtained a copy of the text of the agreement. "All of a sudden there popped up a text" of the MAI, said Ms. Taylor. "We had to get it hoisted out of the OECD out of Paris and have it shipped out to us here in hard copy form, wrenched out of their hands. It revealed a document of 150 pages ... that had all sorts of solidified provisions."
The public and the Congress are quite ignorant about the MAI because "negotiations are conducted in secret," wrote Scott Nova, Director of the Preamble Center for Public Policy last May. "The Clinton Administration has not made efforts, so far, to inform the general public about the MAI or its potential implications. Congressional briefings did not begin until very recently, even though negotiations are at an advanced stage and were originally scheduled to be completed this month." Congress wasn't notified until two years after the State Department began negotiating this treaty, and the public still isn't being told anything, through official channels, that is.
Those who see the U.N. building as the seat of world government may also want to consider the OECD in Paris where the world-changing MAI is now being completed in secret. One British environmentalist wrote,
For the real future of Britain is being discussed not here, but elsewhere, and in the utmost secrecy. The columnists who have so shrilly defended the sovereignty of Parliament from the technocrats in Brussels have so far failed to devote a single column inch to the shady deliberations of the EU's bigger brother, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (A Charter to Let Loose the Multinationals, The Guardian, April 15, 1997).
The resulting exposure by Ms. Taylor's group and others convinced the OECD to meet with non-governmental organizations opposed to the MAI, resulting in last week's consultation in Paris. Ms. Taylor attended that meeting and described it as an "eleventh hour PR campaign to try to save the agreement [because of] mobilization on the grass roots level."
Ms. Taylor told The WINDS the NGOs who consulted with the OECD last week requested a delay in the signing of the MAI until more studies could be done on its impact. "Absolutely not" was the curt reply. "They have to move ahead as scheduled. They will not delay and they will do whatever it takes to have it completed by April ," said Ms. Taylor. "They are very determined, and they would not consider delaying even for six months. They have their deadline and they are going to meet it."
The NGOs tried to convince the OECD to remove some of the more sovereignty-destroying provisions of the MAI; provisions such as the power of the corporation to sue a host country before an international corporate tribunal, provisions stripping protection from labor and the environment, and provisions removing national control over capital flows. To each request the OECD responded, "no way," said Ms. Taylor.
Ms. Taylor related that from the beginning it was determined to ram the MAI through without delay. The corporate interests "wanted to expedite the process from the very beginning," she said. "In 1995, when they knew they were going to set out on these negotiations, they already knew the time was ripe. They waited a long time to even start the negotiations. ... They had always intended to make it go really quick...look at the amount of secretiveness and lack of public involvement." Delaying the MAI till May of '98 to tie up loose ends has made the OECD even more adamant against further delay.
Ms. Taylor summed up the concept of the MAI. "The idea with the MAI is that you take the power more and more out of the people and you put it into...the private sector, corporations, and under no terms can I possibly imagine why it's a good thing to give corporations the same power as government. How is that possibly in the public interest? It's in the private interest. It's just like 'fast track'. [They are] asking Congress to relinquish their representative powers. No longer can you amend, change or debate an agreement. Congress is relinquishing what they were elected to do" - which is proof that our representative form of government has become obsolete in the "techno-feudal" New World Order.
Signing on to the MAI is voluntary. No country in the world is forced into the agreement. Of course, capital investment will flow to those localities where its rights are protected by the MAI. Foreign investment will leave those countries who haven't signed on, creating economic hardship. After it is ratified by its twenty-nine signatories next year, it is expected that the MAI will be quickly joined by others who understand the economic consequences of not playing the game.
Chapter 11 of NAFTA describes the "rights" of roving capital and hence the rights of transnational corporations. The MAI takes chapter 11, amplifies it, and applies it globally. The job and capital flight the U.S. began to experience after passing NAFTA will be amplified as more and more "developing countries" join the MAI. Once ratified, provisions of the MAI are binding on the signatory for twenty years.
The totalitarian nature of the global "free trade" movement was described well by R.C. Longworth, Chicago Tribune senior writer, who wrote on March 27, 1994:
This flow (of capital), coupled with the ease with which companies move jobs around the globe, has shattered the ability of national governments to control their own economies....The trends can only accelerate...(resulting in) even moral outrage...where traditional ways of life are under assault by international forces. This understandable reaction, by people who have lost control of their lives to vast impersonal forces, is not more than a futile gesture in a world where no country can afford the luxury of dropping out.
In the emerging feudalistic global order, the money manipulators are the tyrants that own and rule the world. As current trends accelerate into the curve, we will soon awake to find that the obsolete relic of our representative form of government is but a memory, as are the material benefits of the past fifty years. The "race to the bottom" has begun and there will be a price to pay.
"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you." James 5:1
MAI: Trade Agreement from Hell part I
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