This high-level event offered a platform for a strategic exchange on the negotiations on an Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO), launched in September 2020. The negotiations bring together over 110 WTO Members at all levels of development, aiming to conclude the text negotiations by the end of 2022. Currently, the following Members of the OECS are participating: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Grenada.
Speaking on the topic The Value-added of a WTO Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement, Senior Technical Specialist at the OECS Geneva Mission, Joel Richards, told the over 150 participants that:
“A global framework on investment facilitation for development which is transparency enhancing; which seeks to streamline and expedite administrative measures; which focuses on providing special and differential treatment, including technical assistance and capacity building to developing and least-developed countries; and which aims to share experiences among Members, is potentially worthwhile.”
Mr. Richards further stated that:
“Where countries are desirous of attracting investment to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other national priorities for environmental and socio-economic sustainability, domestic reforms to the investment facilitation regime with a focus on sustainability can be beneficial. Additionally, facilitating investments and enhancing good investment governance can be advantageous to the Caribbean, especially to the extent that they enhance investor confidence in regional markets.”
The IFD negotiations are aimed at developing a multilateral agreement on Investment Facilitation for Development that 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.
The Permanent Delegation of the OECS in Geneva represents the interests of its Member States in the IFD negotiations. The OECS Commission will continue to convene other capacity-building events in relation to the negotiations throughout the year.