swadeshi jagran manch logo

SJM opposes illegal attempt to add investment facilitation agreement to WTO

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) staunchly opposes efforts to illegitimately incorporate the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFA) into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement during the ongoing 13th Ministerial Conference of WTO in Abu Dhabi. Expressing solidarity with the Indian delegation and South Africa, who have vehemently opposed the addition of this agreement to the WTO, SJM asserts that the move by the WTO secretariat, purportedly at the urging of certain global powers including China, is entirely unlawful.  Highlighting several legal concerns surrounding the process of adding IFA as a plurilateral agreement to Annex 4, SJM contends that the IFA does not meet the criteria of a ‘trade agreement’ as outlined in Article X.9 of the Marrakesh Agreement. The absence of substantive trade-related provisions in the IFA leads SJM to reject any classification of the agreement as a “trade agreement.” 

SJM has raised legal objections regarding the proposed addition of the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFA) to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), highlighting specific procedural irregularities. According to SJM, the request to include the IFA in the WTO can only be made by member countries that have completed their domestic procedures to sign and ratify the agreement, and where the agreement has subsequently entered into force. However, as the IFA has not yet entered into force for any party involved, SJM deems the request to add it to the WTO as “ultravirus” or beyond the legal authority. They assert that such a request can only be made after the IFA becomes effective, not before. 

Additionally, SJM contends that negotiations on the IFA commenced without a multilateral mandate, contrary to the longstanding practice of the WTO to make decisions through consensus. This prevented members from examining whether issues related to investment facilitation are indeed trade-related. SJM argues that attempts to incorporate the IFA into the WTO overlook the legal irregularities surrounding the initiation of the negotiations underlying the agreement. 

The SJM strongly opposes the proposed integration of the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFA) into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) during the ongoing 13th Ministerial Conference (MC 13). SJM underscores

According to SJM, the IFA lacks provisions beneficial to developing countries in attracting foreign investment. Instead, it primarily serves to safeguard the interests of foreign investors, granting multinational corporations privileges to influence legislation they oppose. SJM points out that the IFA does not offer any special or differential treatment, further disadvantaging developing nations.

Moreover, SJM asserts that attracting foreign direct investment is a sovereign prerogative that should not be compromised by international agreements. They emphasise the importance of safeguarding the legislative rights of sovereign nations and their citizens. 

In light of these concerns, SJM urges WTO members to adhere to established legal principles and reject the integration of IFA into WTO proceedings, cautioning against diluting sovereign rights in favor of multinational interests. There appear to be ulterior motives behind the proposed agreement’s intent, content, and structure. It seems that under the guise of establishing global standards for investment facilitation measures, the agreement aims to strip sovereign nations of their rights to regulate and monitor Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) within their territories. 

While proponents of the agreement argue that it will not limit parties’ ability to regulate FDI in the public interest within their borders, this claim contradicts the agreement’s provisions. For instance, the inclusion of clauses such as ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) treatment and impartial administrative procedures for investments from all member countries indicates otherwise. Therefore, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) strongly advocates for blocking the IFA entirely in the interest of global peace and stability.


Share This

Click to Subscribe