Structured discussions on investment facilitation continue at the WTO

Following the circulation of the “Easter text” last April, which consolidated the two main negotiating documents used in the negotiations (the Informal Consolidated Text and the Revised Text), and will serve as the main basis for drafting any ultimate agreement on investment facilitation, participants in the structured discussions on investment facilitation have continued to meet over the last several months.

In a meeting in May, participants focused on the issues of transfers and payments, focal points, domestic regulatory coherence, domestic supplier databases, cross-border cooperation, and provisions on responsible business conduct.

At a meeting in June, participants discussed texts prepared by the coordinator on three topics: transparency of investment measures, responsible business conduct, and a possible MFN clause. Time was also spent on implementation, technical assistance, and capacity building for developing and LDC signatories.

According to an annotated agenda, at a meeting in mid-July, members received reports from facilitators on scope,  movement of business persons, and draft provisions of the “Easter Text”, including the preamble, objectives, measures against corruption, dispute settlement and final provisions. In addition, participants conducted a stock-taking exercise to aid in planning for upcoming meetings.

At the end of July, the coordinator issued a revised “Easter Text” containing updates to several sections including to Sections II (“Transparency of investment measures”); III (“Streamlining and speeding up administrative procedures”); IV (“Focal points, domestic regulatory coherence and cross-border cooperation”); and, VI (“Sustainable investment”). It also includes some new definitions in Section I “Scope and general principles”.

At the beginning of August, the coordinator circulated revised text for the preamble, as well as for Articles 1 on Scope, 24 on Cross-Border Cooperation, and 35 on Dispute Settlement.

Further meetings will take place in September, October, and November in the lead up to the 12th Ministerial Conference, which will be held November 30 to December 3, 2021.