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Updated February 27th, 2024 at 12:47 IST

WTO members reject China-backed investment facilitation proposal

Trade ministers from 164 countries are meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss various topics, including agriculture and fisheries.

Reported by: Business Desk
WTO
WTO members reject China-backed investment facilitation proposal | Image:Shutterstock
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WTO rejects investments: A majority of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members have rejected a proposal by a China-backed group on investment facilitation for development, citing the need for consensus on such matters, according to non-government advocacy groups.

India and South Africa have stood firm against any move that is not part of WTO negotiations, a stance that has been vindicated as the 13th ministerial conference (MC13) commences in Abu Dhabi.

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Trade ministers from 164 countries are meeting in Abu Dhabi to discuss various topics, including agriculture, fisheries, and the link between trade and sustainable development.

The convenors of the proposal, South Korea and Chile, supported by China, announced the plan despite ongoing objections from India and South Africa regarding the legitimacy of these negotiations.

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Since 1996, WTO members have consistently rejected attempts to create an investment agreement. A decision in 2004 stated that no discussion of investment negotiations in the WTO would occur until the completion of the Doha Round. In 2015, at the Nairobi Ministerial Conference, WTO members agreed that any new issues would only be addressed if agreed upon by all members.

According to Deborah James, facilitator of the Our World is Not for Sale network, there is no mandate for these negotiations, and countries pushing for them at MC13 are breaching fundamental WTO rules.

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Lucia Barcena from the Transnational Institute emphasised that developing nations need a commitment to actively facilitate responsible investment in strategic sectors to genuinely advance their development, rather than implementing policies already standard in developed countries without financial assistance.

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 11:23 IST

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