Business coalitions feared that the collapse of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), and the controversy surrounding it, might stall or reverse precariously balanced moves to progress investment deregulation in the World Trade Organization (WTO). These fears were realized at the WTO ministerial meeting in Seattle in 1999. Developing nation opposition to a new round of negotiations was supported by over 1000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – environmental, labour, consumer and development. Their petition, ‘Stop the WTO Round’, which was circulated before the Seattle meeting, claimed that the international trading system was unfair and was shaped ‘around the offensive interests of large transnational corporations’. More than 50,000 people from all over the world protested at the meeting itself. At that time, they were the ‘largest demonstrations witnessed in the US since the Vietnam War’.2