Multilateral Agreement on Investment

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:31 am on 2 July 1999.

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Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party 9:31, 2 July 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive whether it intends to make representations to HM Government to ensure that the potential impact in Scotland on matters within its responsibility of any future multilateral agreement on investment is taken into account during any negotiations to establish such an agreement. (S1O-135)

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Labour

The Executive will put forward views as appropriate on the implications for its responsibilities for issues as they arise in international trade negotiations, including any future negotiation of international investment rules.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party

Does the minister acknowledge that such an agreement would cut across the jurisdiction of this Parliament? What areas of the Executive's programme would be constrained by a future MAI agreed by the Westminster Government?

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Labour

Mr Ingram's first point about a future MAI cutting across this Parliament's specific powers is not correct. These are important issues and we have to take them seriously. Anything that would adversely impact on our world trading position would be a matter for concern. However, negotiations and discussions are continuing. I can give an absolute assurance that we will consult closely with ministers at Westminster to ensure that the Scottish perspective is firmly put and that they are aware of the implications of any decisions made on a worldwide basis.