Multilateralizing Investment Facilitation at the WTO: Looking for the Added Value
Since 2017, World Trade Organization members have been engaged in Structured Discussions aimed at agreeing on a multilateral framework on investment facilitation for development. The negotiations focus on establishing binding disciplines for investment facilitation, which will likely be made subject to the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Understanding. Investment facilitation, however, is that something states already do. Over the past decade, states have adopted record numbers of reforms at the domestic, regional, and international levels to facilitate foreign investment. These reforms show no signs of slowing. This begs an important question regarding the World Trade Organization initiative: given all the attention that investment facilitation already receives from states and international organizations, how, if at all, would the conclusion of a World Trade Organization Framework bring added value to states, i.e. value that cannot be achieved by ongoing efforts? Examining this question is the focus of this paper.