Statement by Mr. Mohamed Tawfik, Chargé d’affaires of the Arab Republic of Egypt, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, on agenda item 9: Implications for the work of the Commission following the Doha Ministerial Declaration, at the Commission on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development

Mr. Chairman,

We thank the secretariat for the conference room paper it has prepared for this agenda item (TD/B/COM.2/CRP.4). It is important to discuss UNCTAD’s possible follow-up to the Doha Declaration’s work programme on investment in this first intergovernmental meeting since Doha dealing with investment.

Let me start out by emphasizing that the paragraphs of the Doha Declaration dealing with investment pose a formidable challenge to the developing countries. This has been recognized by the very wording of the Declaration, which, in paragraph 21, expressively states the need for strengthened technical assistance and capacity-building in the pursuance of the mandate set by this work progamme and makes it clear that this should be intended to help developing and LDCs to better evaluate the implications of closer multilateral cooperation for this development policies and objectives and human and institutional development. In this context, our Group proposes therefore that we focus on what UNCTAD can do in this area of technical assistance and capacity-building.

Our work should build on the secretariat’s experience with the implementation of its work programme on international investment agreements. The Conference room paper briefly outlines this work and the background material referred to in the footnote documents it in greater detail. Let me emphasize in this context that, indeed, UNCTAD’s training and capacity- and consensus-building seminars and workshops, its Issues in International Investment Agreements series, the facilitation services to the negotiation of bilateral investment treaties and double taxation treaties involving the countries of the South, and the advice to regional organizations with regard to the formulation and/or modernization of existing investment regimes have been most valuable to developing countries.

Mr. chairman,

The challenge posed by the investment work programme as stipulated in the Doha Ministerial Declaration needs to be met in a variety of ways.

Foremost is the issue of policy analysis and policy development concerning the main issues in possible international investment agreements which bring out the implications for developing countries and LDCs. This is indeed crucial for deepening our understanding of the issues involved. Only on the basis of such understanding can developing countries interests be identified and protected and can the development dimension appropriately be addressed. Identifying the development dimension must extend to clarifying both safeguards and concerns of developing countries in this area, and pro-active issues, such as the special development, trade and financial needs of developing countries, in particular the least-developed countries in this context. This is of utmost priority.

Work in this area has to examine past country experiences and the investment policy options exercised by them and their role and importance to promote economic growth and industrialisation in line with national priorities and objectives.

Work in this area also has to encompass an examination of recent trends in bilateral and regional investment agreements, with a view towards identifying common elements as well as issues that ought to be brought to the attention of developing countries, and it has to include policy analysis at the national level, aiming at a stocktaking of the status of national regulatory frameworks for FDI

Regional intensive training courses of the kind that UNCTAD has already successfully implemented in Alexandria (Egypt), and New Delhi ( India) coupled with training courses for Geneva delegates which cover both the technical issues as well as the economic and political background to the area of FDI, should form the core of the human resources capacity-building approach. In this context, emphasis should also be placed on the bilateral treaty negotiation facilitation events that UNCTAD has organized in the past and that have proven to be extremely helpful to developing countries.

This work needs to be accompanied by efforts aimed at strengthening the national institutional framework and capacities and, more generally, strengthening the institutions dealing with investment issues in developing countries. In fact, let me emphasize – and this is very important – that the work that UNCTAD will undertake in response to the Doha mandate in the area of investment should not be at the expense of its ongoing policy analysis and technical assistance work. If anything, developing countries need more of this ongoing work by the UNCTAD secretariat. The follow-up to Doha should be undertaken as much as possible with additional resources and in line with the Doha mandate as in Para.21

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, let me emphasize another point, namely, that we, the developing countries, need a post-Doha programme as soon as possible, and that it should be substantial.

Thank you very much.

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