INVESTMENT FACILITATION FOR DEVELOPMENT
Participants heard a report of the Facilitator of the Discussion Group on “Possible definitions” of terms used in the agreement (such as “investment”, “investor of another member” and “juridical person”) and heard the co-coordinators' report about their consultations over the past two days with groups of members in different configurations. These consultations touched upon various issues, including responsible business conduct, the definition of “authorization” for an investment, home state measures, and supplier-development programmes.
Members also addressed provision 33 of the Easter text on “General and Security Exceptions” and proceeded to review Section II (Transparency of Investment Measures), Section III (Streamlining and Speeding Up Administrative Procedures), and Section IV (Focal Points, Domestic Regulatory Coherence and Cross-border Cooperation) of the text, which is currently in its seventh revision.
Delegations reiterated their commitment to concluding the text negotiations by the end of this year while some stressed the importance of achieving a meaningful, good-quality agreement.
The co-coordinators, Ambassador Sofía Boza of Chile and Ambassador Jung Sung Park of the Republic of Korea, stressed the need to work hard in the coming weeks and to prioritize the resolution of all remaining “sticky” issues, with a view to arriving at a single, “stabilized” text that would then have to be carefully reviewed in its entirety.
Ahead of the next round of meetings (1-3 November), Ambassadors Boza and Park will circulate a new (eighth) revision of the Easter text to capture the latest developments and reflect the fact that several text proposals have either been dropped or considerably streamlined. In this regard, delegations who intend to submit revised, further streamlined proposals were invited to do so as soon as possible so that they can be included in the next revision.
Since the summer break, delegations have been working on the basis of a proposed schedule of meetings for September-December 2022, which includes five sessions of three days each — with the first two days of each session devoted to consultations in different configurations and the afternoon of the third day reserved for an open-ended plenary meeting.
For the meetings scheduled for 23-25 November and 14-16 December, the co-coordinators proposed, based on their bilateral informal consultations in September, that they be held in-person with remote participation from capital-based officials to provide the necessary momentum and to make as much progress as possible before the end of the year.
Member-driven, transparent, inclusive and open to all WTO members, the joint initiative on investment facilitation for development includes more than 110 members (two-thirds of the WTO membership) — up from the 70 members who endorsed the Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development launched at the 11th Ministerial Conference held in December 2017 in Buenos Aires.
A second Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development was issued on 22 November 2019, with 98 members expressing support for the 2017 Joint Ministerial Statement.