New toolkit to facilitate sustainable investment for development

21 April 2021
ITC News
This publication offers insights from WTO discussions and regional agreements, model clauses and practical tips to help governments build their capacity to negotiate and implement investment agreements.

One impact of the global health and economic crisis associated with COVID-19 has been the sharp 42% drop in foreign direct investment in 2020, compared to 2019. As the world emerges from the pandemic, revitalizing investment will be key to restarting the engine of the global economy. 

Discussions at the multilateral level on a possible WTO Investment Facilitation Framework for Development have the potential to help countries increase the transparency around their investment policies and to respond to the needs of the business sector, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Investment Facilitation for Development – A toolkit for policymakers is the latest International Trade Centre publication that showcases the link between discussions happening at the WTO and priorities on the ground. It guides policymakers and negotiators when developing agreements that facilitate sustainable investment into developing countries, and improves coherence at multilateral, regional and bilateral levels. 

‘The Investment Facilitation for Development negotiations at the WTO aim to create a multilateral framework for a more transparent, efficient and investment-friendly business climate…This publication is a resource for trade negotiators, policymakers and investment promotion agencies,’ said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC Executive Director, and Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Director of the German Development Institute, in a joint foreword to the publication.

Building on experience

Policymakers in developing countries now have a resource to better take part in the negotiations. This ensures a more equitable outcome, especially for their MSMEs, which are a mainstay of their economies.

The publication explains how previous experience from earlier negotiations – like the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement – can help by revealing pitfalls encountered by negotiators, such as duplications and overlaps in agreements.

Support for WTO negotiations

The publication features the Sustainable Investment Facilitation Inventory, which offers many practical suggestions to facilitate implementation, from digital one-stop-shops to specific use of social media platforms, matchmaking databases and more. The inventory also offers sample texts for drafting investment agreements.

To support progress, the report stresses that a community of stakeholders, including from the private sector, can keep the negotiations on course, provide technical assistance and contribute to good practices. 

The ITC publication is based on activities developed through a joint project with the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik.