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New WTO Agreement is expected to facilitate investments, boost trade in developing countries News

29 February, 2024

Ministers representing 123 World Trade Organization (WTO) member states, issued a Joint Ministerial Declaration on February 25 marking the finalization of the Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement. Ministers also issued a submission asking the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi to incorporate the IFD Agreement into Annex 4 of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO.

The finalization of the IFD Agreement marks a significant milestone in the organization’s history. WTO Director-General, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emphasized its significance “… to help its signatories attract foreign direct investment they want to drive growth, productivity gains, job creation, and integration into global supply chains.” The agreement will also “… contribute to making the global economy more resilient and inclusive.”

IFD participants also highlighted the importance of incorporating this agreement into the WTO for developing and least-developed countries (LDCs), who can receive the technical assistance and capacity building support needed to implement it.

The Trade and Investment Advocacy 2 Plus (TAF2+) Programme, funded by the FCDO, has played a crucial role in supporting Least Developed Countries (LDCs), African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) nations, and members of the PIFF Group within the WTO. This cooperation, facilitated through knowledge building webinars, diplomatic work, as well as logistical assistance for MC13, contributed to the successful negotiation and finalization of the IFD agreement. The TAF2+ Programme helped address the needs of beneficiaries through the publication of valuable resources, including regular briefing notes, a Reader’s Guide of the agreed obligations and a concise video on the key elements of the IFD Agreement. In response to the evolving landscape after the core text of the IFD Agreement was agreed upon, TAF2+ actively assisted participating members in understanding the nuances of the needs assessment process and navigating the discussion on the legal architecture. The Programme also provided support to non-signatory countries through knowledge-building webinars to enhance understanding of the provisions and objectives of the Agreement.

Quotes:

“The IFD Agreement is a historic success proving that the WTO continues to deliver outcomes fit for the 21st Century. It will support all WTO Members, in particular developing countries, to boost investment flows needed to tackle global challenges.”

Hon. Greg Hands – Trade Policy Minister (United Kingdom)

“The conclusion and implementation of the IFD Agreement represents a landmark opportunity to stimulate cross-border investment flows, among WTO members and will play a crucial role in fostering sustainable development and inclusive growth.”

Hon. Maneesh Gobin – Minister for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade (Republic of Mauritius)


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