Ms Veniana Qalo, Commonwealth trade adviser, holding the new guide being launched in Trinidad and Tobago on 29 October 2012
18 October 2012
"The handbook identifies an area of crucial need among our poorest, smallest and most vulnerable members" - Dr Cyrus Rustomjee
A handbook for developing countries to negotiate investment agreements that promote sustainable development, growth and employment will be launched on 29 October 2012.
Developed over two years by the Commonwealth Secretariat, ‘Integrating Sustainable Development into International Investment Agreements: A Guide for Developing Country Negotiators’, aims to enable member governments to navigate the complex web of international investment agreements that support their development needs.
It is expected that the guide will be used by countries negotiating bilateral investment treaties. Various provisions may also be suitable for inclusion in economic partnership agreements, investment provisions in preferential trading agreements and other international agreements relating to investment.
The launch will take place during the Sixth Annual Forum of Developing Country Investment Negotiators at the Hilton Hotel, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on 29 October 2012.
“The guide marks the culmination of a consultative and expert-group process held in the Commonwealth Caribbean, Pacific, South Asian and African regions. It identifies an area of crucial need among our poorest, smallest and most vulnerable members and is a cost-effective, instructive tool for members considering how best to integrate investment provisions in multilateral and other trade and related agreements,” said Dr Cyrus Rustomjee, Director of Economic Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Veniana Qalo, trade adviser at the Commonwealth and manager of the project, explained that some agreements make it difficult for countries to achieve essential public policy objectives, including their development goals and the maintenance of environmental, human rights and labour rights standards.
“We felt it was important to provide our developing member countries with a one stop shop from which they can draw insights to inform their decision-making processes,” she said.
Ms Qalo added that the guide explains how international investment agreements can increase foreign investment flows into developing countries and how these agreements can support the efforts of host developing countries to regulate foreign investment inflows in order to ensure that they contribute to sustainable development. The guide identifies best practices in the investment agreement arena, providing tips on the costs and benefits of choosing various options.
It outlines new provisions designed to preserve the ability of states to regulate investment in a manner that ensures foreign investment is harnessed to achieve development objectives without creating strong disincentives to investment.
The guide can also be useful for countries negotiating new international investment agreements.
Order a copy of the guide from the Commonwealth's online bookstore.
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