INVESTMENT FACILITATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
The Coordinator of the negotiations, Ambassador Mathias Francke of Chile, informed participants about the informal bilateral consultations he recently held with interested delegations regarding their plans and expectations for MC12. Many participating members said that MC12 constituted an important opportunity for ministers to take stock of the progress made since negotiations started in September 2020 and to provide political guidance for a timely conclusion of the text negotiations after MC12.
Participating members agreed that ministers should be presented with an “as clean as possible text” based on a revised version of the “Easter text”, incorporating the many areas of convergence achieved since September 2020 as well as highlighting areas where further work and discussion is needed. This revised text will be sent to delegations to be discussed at the next round of IFD negotiations, scheduled for 16-17 November.
Participants also agreed that, at MC12, ministers should acknowledge the progress made on many of the issues mandated in the 2017 Joint Ministerial Statement and 2019 Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development. Ministers should provide the necessary political mandate, impetus and encouragement to finalize the text negotiations at the latest by the end of 2022, Ambassador Francke added.
The meeting allowed members to discuss a proposed draft joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development circulated by the Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD) — a group constituted by 18 developing members, namely Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Gambia, Guatemala, Hong Kong China, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Liberia, Mauritania, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey and Uruguay. The proponents underlined that the draft statement reiterated the importance of developing and least developed country (LDC) members' participation in global investment flows and stressed the need for technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the future IFD Agreement.
The draft included a target date to conclude text negotiations by the end of 2022 in order to convey a clear, political message about the urgency of advancing towards a successful conclusion of the negotiations. China, as coordinator of the FIFD group, indicated that the draft also reaffirmed participants' determination to further intensify outreach efforts towards other WTO members, including non-participants.
Participating members also discussed various provisions of the future agreement, including measures against corruption, most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment and dispute settlement (particularly non-violation complaints).
Moreover, participants made substantive progress on important provisions of Section V on “Special and Differential Treatment” on the basis of a joint contribution on “Provision of Assistance and Support for Capacity Building” and “Information on Assistance and Support for Capacity Building to be submitted to the Committee” as well as a joint communication on “Investment Facilitation Needs Assessments”. They also heard the report of the facilitator of the Discussion Group on “Scope” on the definition of “investor of another member”.
Member-driven, transparent, inclusive and open to all WTO members, this joint initiative currently has the participation of over 100 members, up from the 70 that supported the Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development launched at the 11th Ministerial Conference held in December 2017 in Buenos Aires.
In a second Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development issued on 22 November 2019, 98 members expressed support for the 2017 joint ministerial statement. They committed to intensifying work to further develop the framework for facilitating foreign direct investment and to work towards a concrete outcome on investment facilitation for development at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12). Participating members also agreed to continue their outreach efforts towards non-participating WTO members, especially developing and least-developed members, to ensure that the future framework helps address their investment facilitation priorities and needs.