Con el anuncio por ocho Miembros de la OMC de su decisión de adherirse a las negociaciones relativas a un Acuerdo sobre la Facilitación de las Inversiones para el Desarrollo, el número de participantes se eleva por encima de 110. La decisión de Albania, Georgia, las Islas Salomón, Maldivas, Panamá, Papua Nueva Guinea, Uganda y Zimbabwe se anunció el 30 de noviembre en una reunión de Jefes de Delegación sobre esta iniciativa conjunta presidida por el Sr. Rodrigo Yáñez, Subsecretario de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales de Chile. Los participantes hicieron balance de los progresos realizados en las negociaciones y se comprometieron a lograr el objetivo de ultimar un acuerdo antes de finales de 2022.
(de momento sólo en inglés)
Vice-minister Yáñez welcomed the new participants: «More than two-thirds of the WTO membership are now participating in these negotiations – a remarkable achievement. This reflects that, from the outset, this initiative has always been open to all and pro-multilateral.»
The Chilean Vice-minister exchanged views with members on the significant progress achieved in developing a pro-multilateral Agreement on Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) and on how to move forward following the decision to postpone the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) amid new coronavirus variant concerns. Chile has steered the negotiations since their launch in September 2020, with Ambassador Mathias Francke in the role of coordinator.
The meeting was also the opportunity for members to consider an alternative «landing plan» for the proposed draft joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development, which was going to be presented to ministers at MC12 in early December. Many participating members supported a proposal by China to work on an adjusted version of the Joint Statement that could be adopted at the level of ambassadors in Geneva in order to maintain the momentum that the joint initiative has achieved in the run-up to MC12, to highlight the progress achieved so far in the negotiations, and to provide further impetus to outreach efforts.
The draft Ministerial Statement included a target date to conclude text negotiations by the end of 2022 and reaffirmed the determination to further intensify outreach efforts towards other WTO members. The text also reiterated the importance of developing and least developed country (LDC) members’ participation in global investment flows and the need for technical assistance and capacity building to help them implement the future IFD Agreement.
Vice-minister Yáñez underlined the importance of keeping up the positive momentum as well as the results-oriented and cooperative spirit in which these negotiations have been conducted. The so-called Easter Text is «the recognized foundation for the negotiations and the increased number of participants provides a major boost to the negotiations. Thus, end-2022 is an achievable target date for the conclusion of the text negotiations,» he stressed.
Although the text is not final – “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” – Vice-minister Yáñez noted that substantive progress had been made in key sections of the negotiating document, including notably the sections on «Transparency of Investment Measures» and «Streamlining and Speeding-up Administrative Procedures». Also, important provisions on special and differential treatment, including technical assistance and capacity-building support for developing and least developed countries, were well advanced.
Participants thanked Chile for its effort in coordinating this initiative and its ambition in aiming at achieving an agreement that eventually could be endorsed by the whole WTO membership.
Members shared the common view that a future IFD Agreement would create clear and consistent global benchmarks for investment facilitation, reducing regulatory uncertainty and making it easier for investors to invest. It would anchor domestic reforms in shared international commitments, sending a positive signal to investors. Also, it would allow developing and least-developed country members to receive the technical assistance and capacity-building support they need to implement and benefit from the future agreement, participants said.
Looking forward, a schedule of meetings for the first semester of 2022 has been agreed, as reflected in document INF/IFD/W/41. Eight two-day negotiating meetings will be held between January and July 2022, the first one scheduled for 26-27 January 2022.
Over 110 WTO members participate in the Joint Initiative on Investment Facilitation for Development, namely:
Afghanistan; Albania; Argentina; Australia; Austria; Bahrain, Kingdom of; Barbados; Belgium; Benin; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burundi; Cabo Verde; Cambodia; Canada; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Congo; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Estonia; European Union; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Honduras; Hong Kong, China; Hungary; Iceland; Indonesia; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait, the State of; Kyrgyz Republic; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Latvia; Liberia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macao, China; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Moldova, Republic of; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Spain; Suriname; Sweden; Switzerland; Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; Tajikistan; Togo; Turkey; Uganda; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe;
Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members.
More information here.