Assessing policy reform and capacity building needs to implement a future WTO Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement

Event Type

Geneva, 05.05.2022


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), International Trade Centre (ITC)

More than 110 World Trade Organization (WTO) Members are currently negotiating an Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement with the aim of finalising the negotiations by the end of 2022. Empirical research estimates that the IFD Agreement benefits participating Members, in particular developing and least-developed countries. These positive impacts, however, depend on the successful implementation of the IFD Agreement. The Agreement foresees special and differential treatment provisions, modelled on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, that allow developing and least-developed countries to self-designate the pace of implementation and external support necessary for a successful implementation. A needs assessment process is envisaged to help Members to assess their capacity-building and technical assistance support needs.

This workshop presents the results of a research project investigating the implementation gaps regarding the negotiated IFD Agreement in three case countries (Lao PDR, Togo and Zambia). In addition, the study identifies policy initiatives to overcome potential implementation gaps and conducts an assessment for technical assistance and capacity-building needs for the selected countries. Moreover, we intend to identify specific areas of support for developing countries to provide targeted assistance. The research results are of direct relevance for the ongoing discussions on the conceptualisation of a needs assessment process to support the negotiation and implementation of the IFD Agreement, including the development of a self-assessment guide.

The research project analyses how key aspects of the IFD Agreement are currently implemented in three country case studies – Lao PDR, Togo and Zambia. More specifically, the current situation concerning the facilitation of FDI and key barriers preventing the full implementation of a future IFD Agreement are examined. Additionally, the project identifies national capabilities as well as means of technical and financial development cooperation to build the necessary capacities to implement the IFD. Empirical evidence on the implementation gaps, barriers, national capabilities and external assistance needs is collected through surveys and workshops with key stakeholders from governmental agencies, investment promotion agencies, the private sector, academia and civil society organizations at country level.

The research project is conducted by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in cooperation with the International Trade Centre (ITC). The data collection in Zambia was conducted in cooperation with the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR).

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