UK statement at the WTO Structured Discussions on Investment Facilitation for Development

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Thank you, Chair.

Let me start by thanking members of the Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development for their leadership on this vital initiative since its launch at the WTO’s eleventh Ministerial Conference in December 2017. This Joint Initiative offers the opportunity to develop a dynamic, new and effective framework to address many of the systemic issues facing both global inward and outward foreign direct investment. In doing so, this will foster sustainable development and help Members promote growth and job creation. And it is for this reason that the UK views these Joint Initiatives as so important. Transparent, flexible, and open to all Members, they offer the WTO the opportunity to transform global trading system.

Inclusive sustainable development depends on a global policy environment that is conducive to cross-border investment. Throughout history, investment has proven to be one of the most effective mechanisms for reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. Benefits of investment include job creation, knowledge and technology transfer, access to capital and increases in productivity. FDI has significant positive effects on gender development through higher wages, increased job security and gender-sensitive codes of conduct.

It is because of these remarkable benefits of investment-led development that the UK is delighted to support this initiative.

Investment Facilitation for Development comes at a time when there are several challenges facing investment flows, and where global reforms are required. The UNCTAD 2019 World Investment Report estimates global foreign direct investment flows reduced by 13% in 2018 – the third consecutive year in which these flows have fallen, leading to a $2.5tn annual investment gap between business as usual investments and levels needed to reach Sustainable Development Goals. This is a trend that needs to be reversed.

We want to work constructively with members to create a more enabling environment for investors, and this initiative will help improve the efficiency of the global investment climate. Indeed, the United Kingdom has long been a strong believer in the role of the multilateral trading system to unlock growth, reduce poverty and open markets for least developed, developed and developing countries alike.

As the fifth largest global outward investor in the world, the United Kingdom will support the development and implementation of an investment facilitation framework, not only to provide greater opportunity to businesses – but to make significant contributions towards developing countries’ growth and sustainable development.

And it is with the Sustainable Development Goals in mind that the United Kingdom will continue to support developing Members in their leadership of this initiative which now has 100 participants. The United Kingdom looks forward to working alongside all fellow members to build upon that momentum and achieve a meaningful, concrete outcome by MC12.

Thank you, Chair.

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