INVESTMENT FACILITATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
Participating members heard the reports from the facilitators of the discussion groups on “scope” and “facilitation of the entry and temporary stay of businesspersons for investment purposes” who highlighted progress since the last intersessional meeting on 31 May-1 June. The facilitator of the group on scope presented the group's text contribution, which addresses some key aspects of the overall scope of application of the future agreement. The group will continue working on other important related issues, such as definitions. Participants also heard about ongoing work by the group on facilitation of the entry and temporary stay of businesspersons for investment purposes, which met on 3 June.
The coordinator of the negotiations, Ambassador Mathias Francke of Chile, thanked the facilitators for their efforts and reports, and encouraged participants in the small groups to continue making substantial progress in their deliberations.
Participants discussed three texts prepared by the coordinator. The first is a revised version of Section II (Transparency of investment measures), which is one of the main substantive pillars of the future agreement. It includes only a few areas of draft text in brackets, where differences remain. The second text is a revised version of provision 30 on “Responsible business conduct”, which is included in Section VI (Sustainable investment). The final text is on a possible most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment provision. Participants also continued the discussion on “Transfers and payments”, based on a revised proposal.
A half day was dedicated to a session on implementation, technical assistance and capacity building. The objective was to provide members with practical insights to pave the way for the upcoming discussions on Section V of the so-called Easter text on “Special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing and least-developed country (LDC) members”.
The session was divided into two panels. The first focused on “Lessons learnt from the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implementation”. Delegates heard the experience of members benefitting from the flexibilities offered in the TFA, including the provisions on technical assistance and capacity building. Experts from both recipient and donor members, as well as from the World Bank Group and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, shared their practical experience with the implementation of the TFA and provided insights into what TFA elements could be the most useful in an IFD context.
The second panel addressed “Lessons learnt from international organizations active in the implementation of investment facilitation measures/reforms”. Representatives from leading international organizations shared good practices and challenges encountered. The panellists highlighted the areas they saw as the most impactful and requiring the most technical assistance. They stressed the need for proper sequencing and an integrated, all-government approach to implement investment facilitation reforms.
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.