MAI: New Zealand Calls For Pause

  • Dr Lockwood Smith

New Zealand has sought a pause in negotiations on the OECD's proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Winston Peters and Acting Finance Minister Lockwood Smith said today.

The 29-member OECD Ministerial Council is meeting in Paris, with Finance Minister Bill Birch representing New Zealand. Tonight it will finalise the OECD's work programme for the next 12 months.

"New Zealand has gained from clear rules for trade, such as the GATT," the ministers said.

"Similarly, New Zealand entered the MAI negotiations because we believed a high standards international investment agreement would be good for the global economy and New Zealand.

"Since the change of the Government in December 1996, New Zealand's negotiating stance has reflected the Coalition Agreement.

"However, we do not believe that progress to date justifies any other outcome but a pause in these negotiations.

"Accordingly, we have called for a pause."