SRRT of the ALA against the MAI

                                     INVESTMENTS (MAI)

          WHEREAS the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) is a pending global trade agreement
          which will require signatory governments to relinquish a degree of sovereignty to multinational
          corporations; and

          WHEREAS the MAI is being negotiated in secret under the auspices of the Organization for
          Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a grouping of the world's 29 wealthiest
          countries; and

          WHEREAS the MAI will require governments to provide equal treatment for domestic and foreign
          businesses, meaning that laws offering preferential treatment to businesses or organizations in a given
          locale or situation would be subject to lawsuits to be heard in courts and as-of-yet unnamed
          international tribunals, opening them up to unlimited liability for the continuation of democratically
          created laws; and

          WHEREAS the MAI is intended to apply to all levels of government (national, regional, local,
          community) regardless of whether or not the governmental body in question ratified the treaty,
          meaning that local ordinances may be challenged by multinational corporations; and

          WHEREAS many public and academic libraries receive the majority of their funding from
          governmental bodies, who will be constrained in the policy-making arena by the threat of foreign
          corporations taking legal action against them if they feel local interests are being placed ahead of their
          "rights"; and

          WHEREAS the MAI will apply retroactively to contracts and laws implemented before the MAI is
          ratified; and

          WHEREAS the MAI is anti-democratic and gives multinational corporations rights that citizens to
          not have while absolving them of most responsibilities; and

          WHEREAS libraries and librarians are vital components in maintaining democratic systems by
          providing the information needed to maintain an informed and involved populace, and so have a
          significant stake in rebuffing attacks on democracy and the power of citizens to control their lives;

          WHEREAS the British Columbia Library Association Executive has already voiced its opposition
          to MAI; therefore be it

          RESOLVED that the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association
          declares its opposition to the continued negotiation of the MAI until such time as the negotiations are
          opened up to representation by developing countries and by non-governmental organizations
          dedicated to protecting intellectual freedom, environmental, labor and consumer interests; and be it

          RESOLVED that SRRT urges the ALA Council, current President, and Presidents-Elect to
          publicly oppose MAI as a threat to democratic values, local autonomy, and human rights.

          Passed by SRRT Action Council, 6/27/98
          Washington DC

          cc ALA Council
          B. Ford
          A. K. Symons
          S. Long
          Library press
          British Columbia Library Association
          Bill Clinton
          United States Trade Representative
          U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
          U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee