Structured discussions on investment facilitation: Developments over the last 4 months

On December 10, 2021, WTO members who are signatories to the Joint Statement Initiative on investment facilitation adopted a statement (contained in document WT/L/1130). In this statement, they welcomed the progress made in negotiations, “aiming to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022.”

In the first two months of 2022, negotiating meetings were held on January 26 and 27, as well as on February 14 and 15. A meeting of the Discussion Group on “scope” took place on February 1.

According to documents INF/IFD/W/42 and INF/IFD/W/43, negotiators have continued discussions on issues such as:

  • The agreement’s scope and possible exclusions
  • Definitions of “authorization” and “investor of another Member”
  • MFN treatment/non-discrimination
  • Transfers and payments
  • Supplier–development programs
  • Home state obligations
  • Special and differential treatment (including implementation)
  • Investment facilitation needs assessments.

Participants held a dedicated session on needs assessment on February 14 with the participation of representatives from the International Trade Centre, the Inter-American Development Bank, the OECD, UNCTAD, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank Group, and trade facilitation experts from the WTO Secretariat.

The sixth revision of the main negotiating document (the “Easter” Text) (INF/IFD/RD/74/Rev.6) was circulated to members, as well a list of “Priority Work Areas” set to be addressed from February to April this year.

Based on the schedule of meetings adopted by participants for the first half of 2022, the next negotiating sessions will be held on: April 6–7; May 4–5; June 2–3; June 29–30; and July 20–21.