The Proposed Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation

An analysis of its relationship to international trade and investment agreements

This paper examines the proposed multilateral framework on investment facilitation, which is being discussed by a group of World Trade Organization (WTO) members. The authors examine its relationship with existing WTO agreements, especially the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), along with the myriad international investment agreements in place. The authors also consider the potential relationship between this framework and ongoing talks among some WTO members on domestic regulation in services.

By Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Soledad Leal Campos, Colette van der Ven on September 3, 2020

The structured discussions on this proposed multilateral framework on investment facilitation began in early 2018, following the launch of a Joint Ministerial Statement by various World Trade Organization (WTO) members on the sidelines of the organization's Eleventh Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017.

This paper is organized into five overarching sections. The authors first provide a brief overview of the history of the framework along with a detailed analysis of the Informal Consolidated Text that is currently the basis for discussion. The authors then examine the potential overlap and interaction with the existing WTO rulebook and the Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation. They then review the potential interaction between this framework and international investment agreements, looking at the lessons learned from past jurisprudence in international investment law. The authors conclude with a set of key takeaways and considerations derived from this analysis.

This material has been produced with funding by UK aid from the UK Government. The Umbrella Grant is a project of the Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund (TAF2+) and is implemented by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, in consortium with CUTS International, GenevaBKP Economic Advisors; and InterAnalysis. These papers benefited from peer review and editorial support from Patrick Low, Markus Krajewski, Hamed El-Kady, Sarah Brewin, Rashmi Jose, Susan Joekes, and Sofía Baliño. Thanks also go to Marios Tokas for his research support.

Views expressed in the publication are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect HM Government’s official positions or those of TAF2+.

CUTS International Geneva

Report details

Governance and Multilateral Agreements
Investment Law & Policy
Investment Facilitation
Focus area
IISD and CUTS International, 2020