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OECD to decide on ACF request for treaty documents



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MEDIA RELEASE Page 1

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OCTOBER 20, 1998.

ATTENTION: Chiefs of Staff and

Environment Reporters.

OECD to decide on ACF request

for treaty documents The OECD negotiating group for the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment today will consider whether to release classified and confidential documents relating to the controversial treaty, following a Freedom of Information request lodged by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The ACF understands that this is the first FOI request that the treaty group has had to consider. It was originally lodged with the Australian Treasury Department by the ACF in early 1998.

The request was referred by Treasury to today’s meeting of 29 OECD nations which must also decide where to take the trouble-ridden treaty after a 6 month break in talks and the withdrawal of France from the MAI last week.

The ACF took Treasury to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in May after it refused to release key documents concerning environment issues and the MAI. The AAT ordered Treasury to process ACF's FOI request which includes some confidential and classified OECD documents.

Ms Reynolds described the request as the test of the OECD’s commitment to an open and transparent process on the MAI.

"If the OECD nations agree to release the classified and confidential MAI documents, it will send a positive message that they are prepared to be more transparent with information. If they do release them, the ACF will ensure they are distributed to

concerned communities in a range of nations," Ms Reynolds said.

The MAI, if signed, would be an international treaty to standardise or 'free up' investment laws and regulations in member countries.

It has been dogged by controversy in every OECD nation that plans to sign it because of the far reaching implications the agreement has for the ability of national Governments to regulate foreign companies. The aim of today’s meeting is to see whether the MAI can be brought to conclusion for 'in-principle' signing in March 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT ANNA REYNOLDS ON:

(pa) otf-if- U<

http://www.peg.apc.org/~acfenv/mr2010.htm 27/ 10/1998