Mr. Speaker, first allow me to talk a bit about NAFTA.
Whereas the success of NAFTA is usually linked to the opening up of markets to goods and services, its capacity to attract foreign investment in the regions could end up being the most powerful and durable impact of the agreement. As the Prime Minister said, NAFTA works quite well.
I will quote some figures. The total direct foreign investment in NAFTA countries was $1.97 billion in 1999, more than double the figure of 1995.
American investments in Canada has doubled since 1993 and reached $186 billion in 2000, whereas Mexican investments in Canada reached $132 billion in 2000.
Canadian investments in NAFTA countries have also been quite sizeable. In 1999, direct foreign investments of Canada in the United States and Mexico were $134.3 billion and $2.8 billion respectively.
I will now say a few words about the World Trade Organization. The WTO is not the multilateral agreement on investment, commonly called the MAI. These are two different things. The WTO has more than 130 member states, most of which are developing countries. The multilateral agreement on investment was meant for an elite group of developed countries, the OECD countries. Each member of the WTO has its own approach to investment, and, for the time being, there is no consensus to proceed with an agreement on investment.
Proposals on investment brought forward during the period leading to the ministerial meeting in Seattle were quite different from those in the MAI. Nobody has suggested we should include dispute settlement mechanisms for investor-state conflicts. We can expect that any new WTO agreement on investment will include developing countries.
During the ministerial meeting in Seattle, many countries, the United States included, wanted our international trade minister, who is doing an excellent job, to chair the implementation task force of the Seattle meeting. He has accepted, and he has shown that Canada is perceived as a country that helps build bridges between developed and developing countries.
The task force was supposed to highlight the enormous challenge of including these countries in the round and determining the means to implement the agreement. The idea of a new round at the WTO is not dead. A ministerial meeting will take place in Doha, Qatar, in November this year.
Whatever its position on investment, the government is determined to protect the rights of Canada to make regulations in strategic sectors such as health, education, culture, and the environment. That is what Canadians have always wanted, and that is what their government will stand for.
I would like to add a few words on the free trade area of the Americas and the FTAA mechanisms.
In the free trade area of the Americas, every country will have to submit a proposal to the nine negotiating groups, one of which will deal with investment.
To date, Canada has not yet submitted its proposal to the group dealing with investment. We prefer to pursue our negotiations and wait for the other countries to submit their proposals. We expect to submit our position after we have held all our consultations with the provinces and with the stakeholders.
However, the Canadian proposal will look at the rules applicable to investment in the light of its experience with trade negotiations and with the implementation of its rules concerning investment with other countries such as, obviously, NAFTA member countries, as well as Latin American and Caribbean countries. We will rely on our past experiences.
The main objective of Canada is to ensure a clear delineation of the obligations with respect to investment that will serve Canadian interests.
Countries of the Americas need and want capital as well as the opportunities associated with investment, of course. It is in their interest to guarantee that investment flows in a predictable manner in the whole area.
Mexican President Vicente Fox recently stated in Montreal that Mexico benefited from increased investment, which creates jobs, improves health care and raises standards of living. He also recognized that the middle class has made major progress since NAFTA. More than 10 million people are now said to be part of the middle class.
As for the FTAA, Canada is not advocating a reproduction of the rules applying to investors and states under NAFTA, and we did not support any proposal made up until now by other member states of the FTAA to include a dispute settlement mechanism.
In the FTAA, Canada is taking into account the work already started with its NAFTA partners on the issue of investment in this agreement, including the clarification of the provisions concerning investors and states, as the case may be.
I would now like to say a few words on the General Agreement on Trade in Services.
Coming back briefly to what I was saying on NAFTA, I would like to say that this agreement is extremely profitable for Canada.
My riding of Brome—Missisquoi, which is located along the Vermont border, is an extraordinary one in the sense that it has a large, qualified workforce. It is a riding, of course, that wants to attract American investors on our side, so that we can re-export goods to the United States and elsewhere.
In this respect, NAFTA gives us that flexibility. In Brome—Missisquoi, I am in the process of building a Team Brome—Missisquoi, so that we can export more goods to the United States and that investments can be made on both sides of the border.
I now want to come back to the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The 1994 Marrakesh agreements provided for new discussions on agriculture and services at the World Trade Organization. The agreement on services is better known as the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the GATS.
Services are not only important to the Canadian economy, they are the cornerstone of employment in many areas and regions, whether for a plant with 500 employees or a business starting up with only three employees.
We have made our position known to the WTO: Canada's objective in the GATS negotiations is to reach the best agreement possible, to improve Canadian service suppliers' access to foreign markets and to provide Canadian consumers with a larger choice of services at a lower cost.
This agreement deals mainly with the issues of market access and non discriminatory treatment of service suppliers. However, the agreement also deals with major issues concerning service suppliers' right to a commercial presence, that is, where to invest to establish a presence in other countries.
However, the GATS lets us choose. All members are free to make commitments on this commercial presence or to choose not to do so. Let us be very clear. This agreement is not an agreement on investment under chapter 11 of NAFTA.
The GATS does not include any safeguards for investors, such as the right to compensation in case of expropriation, or any provision concerning a dispute settlement between an investor and a state.
If the hon. member would withdraw her motion, I would move to replace the motion we are debating now by the following motion:
That this House calls upon the government to respect the words of the Minister for International Trade, who stated in the House on April 30, 2001 “Our view is that we want to clarify certain aspects of chapter 11 within the present mechanism of NAFTA”.
Words intended to ensure a more open and transparent dispute settlement process, and to safeguard the interests of all Canadians in this and all future trade agreements signed by Canada.
Thus, I am proposing that the previous motion be withdrawn and replaced with the one I just read.