WTO JSI on Investment Facilitation for Development
At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, a group of 70 Members, including Canada, endorsed a Joint Ministerial Statement agreeing to discussions on a WTO framework on investment facilitation for development. The objectives of the framework are to improve the transparency and predictability of investment measures; streamline and speed up administrative procedures and requirements; and enhance international cooperation and stakeholder relations. The declaration explicitly excluded market access, investment protection and investor-state dispute settlement from the discussions.
More recently in November 2019, 98 WTO Members, including Canada, endorsed a new Joint Ministerial Statement in Shanghai, committing to work towards a concrete outcome regarding the framework on investment facilitation for development at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in June 2020.
Investment facilitation is about creating a more efficient, predictable and "investment-friendly" business climate by making it easier for investors to establish operations, conduct their day-to-day business, and expand their investments. The objective of the discussions is to make investment-related policies transparent, efficient and predictable by getting rid of unnecessary "red tape" and bureaucratic entanglements. Another aim is to encourage more international cooperation to facilitate investment and help Developing and Least-Developed Countries attract investments.
WTO discussions to date have centred on four key areas:
- Improving regulatory transparency and predictability – such as publishing investment-related measures and establishing enquiry points;
- Streamlining and speeding up administrative procedures – such as removing duplicative steps in approval processes and simplifying applications;
- Enhancing international cooperation and addressing the needs of developing members – such as providing technical assistance and capacity-building for developing countries and least developed countries; and
- Other investment facilitation-related issues – such as implementing provisions to encourage responsible business conduct.
- Date Modified: