24 May 11 - G20 countries continue to honour their pledge not to retreat into investment protectionism
A joint UNCTAD-OECD report, the fifth since September 2009, analyses G20 countries' investment policy measures undertaken in the past 6 months.
The UNCTAD-OECD Report on G20 Investment Measures concludes that the majority of the G20 countries' national policy measures undertaken during the reporting period eliminated restrictions on international investment and/or improved clarity for foreign investors.
This comes in contrast to the global picture, where the last six months have seen an increase in measures that restrict or regulate foreign investment, as indicated in UNCTAD's Investment Policy Monitor. Restrictive measures now stand at 35 per cent of all policy measures adopted - the highest proportion since 1992, when UNCTAD first published data on this issue.
The policy developments covered by the present report took place in a situation where - unlike global GDP and trade flows - global investment flows have not recovered to their pre-crisis levels, as reported in UNCTAD's latest Global Investment Trends Monitor. Moreover, a number of different risks to a full FDI recovery, including protectionist pressures, persist.
The report covers the period between mid-October 2010 and the end of April 2011, and is accompanied by the Joint WTO-OECD-UNCTAD Summary on G20 Trade and Investment Measures. It is being issued in response to the request made by G20 leaders at their summit meeting in Seoul on 11-12 November 2010. In their Summit declaration, the G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to resisting protectionism until the end of 2013, and asked WTO, OECD and UNCTAD to continue monitoring the situation and to report publicly on a semi-annual basis.
For the reporting period (16 October 2010 to 28 April 2011), the report shows that:
- Seven G20 members adopted investment-specific policies;
- Nine G20 members adopted emergency and related measures with potential impacts on international investment;
- One G20 member adopted an investment measure related to national security; and
- Eight G20 members concluded six bilateral investment agreements (BITs) and six other international agreements with investment provisions ("other IIAs").
The simultaneous liberalization and regulation of investment, and the consequent dichotomy in investment policymaking, are a sign of the importance that countries attach to international investment as a driving force for the growth of the global economy and for sustainable development. The activities in the framework of the G20's "Multi-Year Action Plan on Development" contribute to harnessing investment for these objectives.
These activities include the contributions by UNCTAD and by other organizations to the pillar on "private investment and job creation", and the contributions by UNCTAD, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Bank to the pillar on "food security", including on responsible investment in agriculture.