The decision to establish a Working Group was taken at a meeting chaired by the coordinator of the negotiations, Chilean Ambassador Mathias Francke, and attended by nearly 100 WTO members. The Working Group, to be coordinated by the WTO Secretariat, will bring together relevant international organizations (IOs) working on implementing investment facilitation measures on the ground as well as interested WTO members to develop an Investment Facilitation Self-Assessment Guide.  The WTO Secretariat will report at future meetings on the progress made in the Group.

Prior to the decision, representatives of IOs participated in a dedicated session on “Investment Facilitation Needs Assessments” on 14 February. The IO representatives outlined to WTO members their respective areas of expertise and the support they could provide to set up investment facilitation needs assessments.

Ambassador Francke and several participating members emphasized the need to carry out the work in the Working Group in parallel to the ongoing negotiations on the Agreement on Investment Facilitation for Development.

Ambassador Francke presented the priority work areas for the coming months (INF/IFD/W/41). He also introduced the sixth revision of the “Easter Text”, including notably further advanced special and differential treatment provisions. The negotiating text, which was first circulated in April 2021, has been steadily developed on the basis of text proposals by members, text contributions by discussion groups and the coordinator, and discussions at plenary meetings.

At the meeting, discussions among participants also focused on key issues in the negotiating text, such as the definition of “authorization” in the context of investment authorization procedures, and on the most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment/non-discrimination provision.  Participants also exchanged views on proposals on transfers and payments, supplier-development programmes and home state obligations. Negotiators also heard an update from the facilitator of the discussion group on “scope” on the latest discussions on possible exclusions from the scope of the future agreement.

Next steps

The next negotiating meeting is scheduled to take place on 15-16 March 2022.  Issues to be addressed include continuation of the discussions on definitions, notably “authorization”, as well as on the provisions on MFN treatment/non-discrimination, responsible business conduct, and special and differential treatment. The WTO Secretariat will report on progress made by the Working Group on the development of the Investment Facilitation Self-Assessment Guide.


Member-driven, transparent, inclusive and open to all WTO members, this joint initiative currently has the participation of over 110 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.

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.

A third Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development, endorsed by over 110 members, was issued on 10 December 2021, in which the signatories stated their aim to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022 and their determination to further intensify outreach efforts. The Joint Statement provides clear guidance for delegations in the negotiations and reiterates the importance of developing and least-developed country (LDC) members' participation in global investment flows as well as the need for technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the future IFD Agreement.

More information here.




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