The co-coordinators of the negotiations, Ambassador Sofía Boza of Chile and Ambassador Jung Sung Park of the Republic of Korea, reported on the 3-4 April round of consultations with groups of members. Participants in the negotiations reiterated their support for the April “sunset approach” — the time limit set to discard those issues from the Annex which did not garner wide support and therefore were not considered by participants as “fit” to be part of the future IFD Agreement.

Three issues were pending in the Annex. First, on the movement of businesspersons, participants reiterated their support for a joint proposal on “Information to be made publicly available on the Entry and Temporary Stay of Natural Persons for the purpose of conducting investment activities” co-sponsored by several participants. The proposal will be included in the main text of the Draft Agreement as part of Section II (Transparency of Investment Measures).

Second, regarding a proposal to define the term “enterprise”, given that delegations did not express support for this proposal, it was agreed to remove it from the Annex.

Finally, regarding a proposal to exclude “non-discriminatory measures of general application in the pursuit of monetary and related credit policies or exchange rate policies”, participating delegations agreed to introduce this provision as a standalone article in the Draft Agreement in a bracketed format (indicating text still under review), as some delegations requested more time to consult domestically on this issue.

“Consequently, we are very happy to announce that the Annex will be removed from the next version of the Draft IFD Agreement. We wish to reiterate our sincere appreciation to the respective proponents of text proposals in the Annex, and to all IFD participants, for their constructive spirit, which has made it possible to resolve all pending issues in the Annex and, thus, to remove the Annex — as per the agreed sunset approach,” said the co-coordinators. 

“This is a major achievement and shows that if members are willing to discuss in an open-minded, result-oriented spirit, viable solutions can be found,” they added.

Delegations also made important progress in removing several brackets in Section I (Scope and General Principles) as well as the remaining brackets in Section III (Streamlining and Speeding Up Administrative Procedures) of the Draft IFD Agreement.

During the consultations, the WTO Secretariat presented a revised version of the document providing information on bracketed language in the Draft Agreement, including on Sections V (Special and Differential Treatment for Developing and Least-Developed Members), VI (Sustainable Investment) and VII (Institutional Arrangements and Final Provisions).

Participating delegations held fruitful discussions and made further progress particularly on Section V, which is modelled on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) approach and now contains only a few remaining brackets.

As part of this round of consultations, participants held a dedicated session on IFD needs assessment, which is based on the TFA needs assessment. The Secretariat introduced the draft IFD Self-Assessment Guide, together with the seven partner international organizations (Inter-American Development Bank, International Trade Centre, organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, World Bank Group and the World Economic Forum) involved in its drafting.

Participants also discussed the IFD needs assessment process more generally — including potential demand and supply (e.g. funding) and a potential timeline. IFD participants stressed their strong support for the needs assessment process while partner international organizations (IOs) reiterated their readiness to team-up to assist developing countries and LDCs in conducting them.

Some IOs said that they had already started pilot needs assessments. Two participating members expressed interest in participating in such pilot projects, based on the Self-Assessment Guide. With regard to funding, participants concurred that a “mixed model” was the most realistic scenario in the short run, with contributions by IOs and donor members.

IFD participants as well as partner IOs highlighted the importance of ensuring coherence and consistency in the conduct of needs assessments as well as in resulting implementation notifications.

New participating member

Oman announced its intention to join the more than 110 members participating in the negotiations. In a communication sent to members, the Omani authorities welcomed the open, transparent and inclusive character of the ongoing negotiations and looked forward to advancing the Draft Agreement to achieve progress towards significant outcomes at the 13th Ministerial Conference, to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024.




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