The forthcoming negotiations on a WTO Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation for Development




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

At a stock-taking and next-steps meeting of the Structured Discussions on Investment Facilitation for Development held last December in Geneva, participating WTO members decided to move into negotiating mode as of March 2020. Negotiations will be guided by the Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development adopted in December 2017 by 70 WTO members at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, as well as by the subsequent Joint Ministerial Statement endorsed by 98 WTO members in November 2019 (see links below).

After an organisational meeting to be held in February 2020, negotiations will likely begin in March, based notably on a forthcoming text consolidating the contributions made so far during the Structured Discussions. The 98 co-signatories of the November 2019 Joint Ministerial Statement committed themselves to "intensify work (…) and work towards a concrete outcome on Investment Facilitation for Development at the Twelfth WTO Ministerial Conference" to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020.

Discussions so far have focussed on practical measures concerned with improving the transparency and predictability of national investment frameworks, streamlining and speeding up administrative procedures and requirements related to foreign investors, and enhancing coordination and cooperation among stakeholders. During the negotiation phase, members will face the challenge of transferring conceptual proposals into concrete treaty language that broadly reflects the interests of the participating WTO members.

The webinar—which was conducted in an interactive manner and allowed for questions by participants—discussed key issues relating to the negotiations: 

  • What is the state of play of the ongoing discussions on this issue and their main elements, and where do we go from here?
  • What are the principal facilitation measures considered so far?
  • How can such a framework include a strong pro-development dimension and promote sustainable FDI?
  • What value would an Investment Facilitation Framework add to national and bilateral
  • investment facilitation efforts?
  • What are the principal obstacles negotiators face?



  • Rajesh Aggarwal, Chief, Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business, International Trade Centre



  • Karl P. Sauvant, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, New York



  • Axel Berger, Senior Researcher, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn
  • Eduardo Galvez, Permanent Representative of Chile to the WTO and Coordinator of the Structured Discussions
  • Makane Moïse Mbengue, Professor, University of Geneva [tbc]
  • Mathew Stephenson, Policy and Community Lead, Trade and Investment, World Economic Forum
  • Zixuan Zhou, Permanent Mission of China to the WTO, Geneva [tbc]

Hinweis / Please note

Während unserer Veranstaltungen werden z.T. Foto- und/oder Filmaufnahmen gemacht, die für Zwecke der Veranstaltungsberichterstattung und allgemeinen Öffentlichkeitsarbeit in verschiedenen Medien veröffentlicht werden. Sie haben jederzeit das Recht, die Foto- oder Videograf*innen darauf hinzuweisen, dass Sie nicht aufgenommen werden möchten.

During our events photos and/or videos may be taken which may be published in various media for the purposes of documentation and PR activities. You have the right at any time to point out to the photographer or videographer that you do not want to be photographed or filmed.


Datum / Uhr
11.02.2020 / 16:00 - 17:00



This webinar is part of a webinar series. Upcoming topics and dates will be published soon.


Please register if you are interested in attending this webinar.


How can an international framework for investment facilitation contribute to sustainable development?
Berger, Axel / Sebastian Gsell (2019)
Briefing Paper 15/2019