“Investment facilitation for development – A toolkit for policymakers” is true to its name. The publication provides a comprehensive list of actionable investment facilitation measures for policy-makers to implement and improve the business and investment climate.
It is really a “goldmine for investment promotion agencies” seeking to facilitate investment, Karl Sauvant, who has edited the publication alongside Axel Berger and Yardenne Kagan, tells fDi.
Born as a collaboration between the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), the final aim of the publication is to support the ongoing negotiation at the WTO for an investment facilitation for development (IFD) agreement, whose final text is expected to come through by the end of 2022. In doing so, it provides anyone working in investment promotion and facilitation with a rare compendium of best practices to facilitate investment.
The WTO negotiations were launched in 2017 by a group of developing and least-developed members, with the aim of developing a multilateral agreement on IFD. This will improve the investment and business climate, and make it easier for investors in all sectors of the economy to invest, conduct their day-to-day business and expand their operations.
Facilitating greater participation of developing and least-developed members in global investment flows also constitutes a core objective of the future agreement. As many as 112 WTO members have now joined the initiative, up from the 70 members that initially proposed it in 2017.
After its first publication in April 2020, the second edition of the toolkit came out in January 2020 and synthesises “what has been learned from numerous capacity-building workshops and consultations with stakeholders (governments, international organisations, IPAs, the private sector, civil society, academia) conducted in the framework of the ITC-DIE project” on IFD, according to the executive summary.
The updated inventory of investment facilitation measures provided in chapter six is the beating heart of the toolkit. The introduction to the chapter describes it as “an informal and unofficial compilation of investment facilitation measures, their rationale and ways in which these measures are — or can be — implemented in practice”. It adds: “The inventory provides a menu from which to draw, depending on particular contexts and needs.”
The list is divided into general measures (“concrete, actionable investment facilitation measures that may not yet have been considered in the WTO structured discussions and negotiations and that may be particularly useful for investment facilitation”) and measures that “directly increase investment’s development contribution”.
It is culled from various sources, including contributions made in the course of the past three years of WTO negotiations; in-country sustainable investment facilitation projects and discussions with the private sector organised by the World Economic Forum; and the discussions conducted in the (mostly virtual) meetings on a multilateral framework on IFD organised by ITC-DIE, together with the World Economic Forum and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies.
Elsewhere, chapter five provides an insightful survey of some 66 private investors in the Americas. Its findings show those measures that directly and indirectly contribute to increasing the volume of the FDI most valued by the investors surveyed. Chapters one to four get into the nitty gritty of the ongoing WTO negotiations, their legal implications and their relationship with other existing trade and investment frameworks.
Loaded with technicalities and detailed analysis, the toolkit may not be a must-read for everyone, but it is definitely essential for anyone with skin in the FDI game.
This article first appeared in the October/November 2022 print edition of fDi Intelligence. View a digital edition of the magazine here.