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Responsible business conduct – Text proposal

WTO structured discussions on investment facilitation for development

Communication from Canada

Canada’s proposal for investment facilitation for development

The following communication, dated 8 March 2021, is being circulated at the request of the delegation of Canada.

Discussions in the Joint Statement Initiative on Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) have highlighted the importance that many Members ascribe to Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) principles. Indeed, Canada believes that including a strong RBC provision in a future IFD Agreement would help enhance international investment's contribution to sustainable development.

Through this communication, Canada wishes to recognize the positive contributions of several Members and aims to contribute constructively to this discussion by building on these existing proposals.

Canada's proposal requires Members to encourage investors and enterprises to voluntarily adopt internationally recognized standards, guidelines and principles of responsible business conduct in their business practices. It also calls for Members to encourage investors to maintain meaningful engagement and dialogue with Indigenous peoples and local communities.

Canada reserves the right to table additional text proposals on this or other issues in the course of the negotiations.

27. Cross-cutting issues

Responsible business conduct

1. Each Member reaffirms the importance of internationally recognized standards, guidelines and principles of responsible business conduct that have been endorsed or are supported by that Member, including the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and shall encourage investors and enterprises operating within its territory or subject to its jurisdiction to voluntarily incorporate these standards, guidelines and principles into their business practices and internal policies. These standards, guidelines and principles address areas such as labour, environment, gender equality, human rights, community relations and anti-corruption.

2. Each Member should encourage investors or enterprises operating within its territory to undertake and maintain meaningful engagement and dialogue, in accordance with international responsible business conduct standards, guidelines and principles that have been endorsed or are supported by that Member, with Indigenous peoples and local communities.

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