10 Dec 10 - APEC countries: Investment climate liberalized, some restrictions remain

Asia-Pacific Economic CooperationUNCTAD examines national investment regimes and the international commitments of 13 selected APEC member economies.

The key finding of the latest UNCTAD report is that the 13 APEC economies examined have reached a high level of investment liberalization and have set up transparent and conducive investment regimes. However, all economies still maintain sectoral investment restrictions, in the form of prohibitions or capital ceilings.

The study was undertaken on behalf of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), whose Bogor Declaration set out a long-term vision for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, and served as a benchmark criterion for the assessment.

The analysis consists of three parts:

  • Part 1 analyses the current status of investment liberalization and protection;

  • Part 2 reviews progress in these areas; and

  • Part 3 assesses the impact of the progress achieved on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the 13 economies.

All 13 economies selected were actively engaged in investment promotion and facilitation. Their processes of liberalization were largely brought about by their own unilateral efforts, supported by Individual Action Plans.

In recent years, the APEC region has also been one the most dynamic in negotiating international investment agreements (IIAs), particularly free trade agreements (FTAs) and regional trade agreements (RTAs), which can serve as guarantees for legal stability and predictability. Finally, the peer pressure generated through the APEC process at various levels has also played a role in maintaining momentum in the move towards a more open investment climate.

The APEC economies reviewed have emerged as engines of global economic growth. Between 1996 and 2008, the total annual FDI inflows and outflows of the 13 economies approximately quadrupled, even though their global and intra-APEC share of FDI has decreased over the last 15 years due to higher growth rates in other economies. The success of these economies underlines the validity of the Bogor Goals approach, reflecting the different levels of economic development among the member economies.

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