The negotiations towards a potential Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have now ceased without any agreement being concluded. This brings clarity and closure to the issue.
Canada's participation in the negotiations was constructive, both in stimulating policy discussion on key investment issues, and in ensuring that Canada's clearly defined bottom lines were upheld throughout the negotiation process. Since the outset, we have maintained our bottom-lines to fully safeguard our freedom of action in key areas, including health care, social programs, culture, labour, environment, education, programs for Aboriginal Peoples and programs for minorities.
The Government of Canada is committed to an open and constructive dialogue with Canadians on all international trade and investment negotiations. With respect to the MAI, the consultation process enabled the Government to hear from thousands of Canadians, correspond with over 70 municipalities, and meet on a continuing basis with provincial/territorial representatives and with more than 60 regional, professional, sectoral and focussed interest groups.
Trade and investment are twin engines for job creation, prosperity and economic growth. Canada does much better when there are transparent rules governing the international playing field on which our businesses compete. That is why Canada has always been an active participant in the development of a world trading system based on rules rather than on economic might. We believe that the World Trade Organization (WTO) should be the home for any eventual international rules on investment.