Informal discussions

Joint Initiative Investment facilitation for development

In December 2021, 112 WTO members co-sponsored a Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development, in which they recognize the Consolidated Document by the Coordinator (so-called ‘Easter Text (Revision 5)’) as the basis for their ongoing negotiations and state their objective to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022.

Launched in 2017 by a group of developing and least-developed WTO members, the Joint Initiative aims at developing a multilateral agreement on Investment Facilitation for Development that will improve the investment and business climate, and make it easier for investors in all sectors of the economy to invest, conduct their day-to-day business and expand their operations. Facilitating greater participation of developing and least-developed members in global investment flows also constitutes a core objective of the future Agreement.  The initiative does not cover market access, investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement.

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Participation

Over 100 WTO members participate in the Joint Initiative on Investment Facilitation for Development, namely:

Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members. The Initiative is coordinated by H.E. Mr Mathias Francke, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Chile to the WTO.

Investment facilitation for development discussions

Investment facilitation for development discussions at the WTO are taking place against the backdrop of an increasing and reinforcing relationship between trade and investment, which has the potential to foster economic growth and diversification, job creation and sustainable development. Over the last few decades, many countries have adopted policies aimed at facilitating investment, with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment.

In December 2017, 70 WTO members from all continents and at all levels of development issued a Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development, calling for “structured discussions” aimed at developing a multilateral framework on investment facilitation for development. In November 2019, 98 WTO members committed in a second Joint Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development to intensify work on developing a framework (agreement) for facilitating foreign direct investment relating to both goods and services and on working towards a concrete outcome at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12).

Negotiations towards an Agreement on investment facilitation for development were formally launched in September 2020. In the ongoing negotiations on investment facilitation for development participating WTO members are discussing notably the following topics:  

  • improving the transparency and predictability of investment measures
  • simplifying and speeding up investment-related administrative procedures
  • strengthening the dialogue between governments and investors, and promoting the uptake by companies of responsible business conduct practices, as well as preventing and fighting corruption
  • ensuring special and differential treatment, technical assistance and capacity building for developing and least-developed countries.

 

Next steps

Since the start of the negotiations, participating members have made significant progress on key pillars of a future Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement, such as on the transparency of investment measures. They are working intensively to advance on remaining topics, with a view to concluding the text negotiations on the Agreement by the end of 2022.

ITC-German Development Institute regional high-level events

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