Investment facilitation and WTO modernisation: How the structured discussions could contribute to a strengthening of the WTO

Working Session WTO Public Forum

Ort / Datum
Geneva, 11.10.2019


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Discussions on investment facilitation, initiated at the 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Buenos Aires, represent an opportunity both for countries aiming at improving their domestic frameworks to attract investments but also for the World Trade Organization (WTO) itself. While traditional international investment policy approaches often aimed at substituting domestic legal frameworks, investment facilitation measures are designed to improve them. Furthermore, the interest by these countries in moving forward on investment facilitation means that they value the WTO as a platform of international negotiations. Notwithstanding these opportunities, the structured discussions are conducted by a subset of members while a sizeable group of countries remains outside the process. It is important to understand the concerns of these WTO members, in particular developing countries, in order to develop an international framework on investment facilitation that helps to attract foreign investments and supports sustainable development.

In light of these challenges and opportunities, this working session focused on the contribution of the discussions on investment facilitation to the strengthening of the WTO. This session discussed the potential scope of an international framework for investment facilitation and ways how such a framework can be integrated in the WTO. One crucial question in this regard relates to the broadening of the discussions by including more member states. In this respect, the working session critically debated the concern of those countries that are not participating in the structured discussions and reflected on options how these concerns can be addressed.


  • Ambassador Eduardo Gálvez, Permanent Representative, Mission of Chile to the WTO
  • Khaled Hanafy, Secretary General, Union of Arab Chambers
  • Ana Novik, Head of Investment Divison, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Group Director, Economic Law & Policy, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)



  • Axel Berger, Senior Researcher, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)


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Logo: T20japan

Towards G20 guiding principles on investment facilitation for sustainable development
Berger, Axel / Ahmad Ghouri / Tomoko Ishikawa / Karl P. Sauvant / Matthew Stephenson (2019)
published on T20 Japan March 2019


Cover: Briefing Paper 15/2019

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