Investment negotiations at WTO

A new international agreement on investment, referred to as “the multilateral framework on investment facilitation”, is being intensively negotiated among 106 countries at the WTO. It is promoted as important for facilitating investments in different countries for development purposes. Its real impacts would entrench corporate power, given foreign corporations an enforceable right to lobby and pressure host states, and cripple the ability of states to leverage investment for sustainable development.

This multilateral investment agreement on “investment facilitation” could open the door for further draconian investment rules similar to the failed 1990s Multilateral Investment Agreement (MAI).

These impacts are especially serious for the Global South. Regulatory frameworks are still at an emerging stage in developing countries. The proposed WTO rules will jeopardize their policy space to devise and experiment with policies that best suit their specific developmental needs.

Some WTO Members are negotiating rules on facilitating investment: WTO plurilateral investment facilitation draft consolidated text (as of 4 February 2021)

Statements and Analysis from Civil Society

Why the Joint Statement Initiatives Lack Legal Legitimacy in the WTO, by Law Professor Jane Kelsey, a rebuttal to a previous document by Hamid Mamdouh, “Plurilateral Negotiations and Outcomes in the WTO.” Resumen en español. (22 June 2021)

Scope of an investment facilitation framework: Implications for its developmental claim (by Kinda Mohamadieh, July 2020)

Plurilateral initiatives and their interaction with WTO rules (TWN Policy Brief, 2020)

Investment facilitation – Another plurilateral initiative at the WTO and its potential implications (TWN, October 2019)

Rebuttal to “The WTO Investment Facilitation Initiative: Why It Matters” – background note: Investment Facilitation for Development: Opening the doors of the WTO for hard rules on investment (December 2017)

Reflections on the Discussion of Investment Facilitation (South Centre, March 2017)

Global Civil Society letter on the Nairobi Ministerial of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (December 9, 2015)

Global Civil Society letter to UNCTAD Secretary General on Investment Issues: English, Spanish (October 15, 2014)

Updates & Articles on the Negotiations

Previous work

OWINFS has campaigned against including investment rules in the WTO since they were first proposed in Singapore in 1997. For more on this work, please, see here.