The MAI and Australia [Stop MAI, updated 28 May, 1999]

1.28 The Committee acknowledges that briefing sessions have been provided for parliamentarians and their staff, but questions whether these were an attempt at genuine consultation with the Parliament by the Treasury in the development of the MAI or whether they were merely information-providing in response to the mounting public and political criticisms of the agreement. We note that, up until 31 March 1998, certain select bodies were in the privileged position of 'being consulted' and were given access to the draft negotiating text and other material at a time when it was denied to the Australian Parliament and the public."

The European Union is now laying foundations for the negotiations to move in 1999 from the OECD to the World Trade Organization (WTO), favoured also by Japan and the UK. In May, 1999, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a manifesto, Global Trade Reform - supporting immediate moves for trade liberalisation.