Bolivia's new investment promotion law through the eyes of UNCTAD's IPFSD

The Plurinational State of Bolivia has recently promulgated a new investment promotion law, establishing the general legal and institutional framework for the promotion of investment that contributes to socioeconomic development.

The August 2014 issue of Investment Treaty News (ITN), a quarterly publication by the International Institute for Sustainable Development ( IISD), features a note by international lawyer Martin Dietrich Brauch, entitled Opening the Door to Foreign Investment? An Analysis of Bolivia's New Investment Promotion Law .

The article provides an overview and analysis of the new law, within the context of Bolivian law and policy, and international trends. It indicates that “the law formalizes and publicizes Bolivia's strategic investment policy priorities, presents the role intended for private and foreign investment in the country's development strategy and priorities, and sends a signal to investors and other relevant stakeholders, namely: investors are welcome, as long as they play by the rules dictated by the State, particularly in strategic sectors.” Furthermore, it points out that the law provides guidance to the (re)negotiation of BITs: all of them must now confirm not only to the Constitution, but also to the law itself.

The article highlights that "enacting an investment promotion law is in line with the international trend to reform domestic regimes considering broader policy objectives, as reflected in the Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development ( IPFSD) published in 2012 by UNCTAD, and with Bolivia's revised investment policy."

UNCTAD's IPFSD aims to support "new generation" investment policies that aim to operationalize sustainable development in concrete measures and mechanisms at the national and international level. Accordingly the UNCTAD framework is designed to serve as a key point of reference for investment policymakers and as the basis for capacity-building and technical cooperation in this area. It provides guidance for policy making in the investment field. It offers a “policy at a glance” for politicians (the Core Principles), a handbook for national policy makers (the national investment policy guidelines), and a “checklist of options” for treaty negotiators (the policy options for IIAs). The IPFSD was designed as a "living document" that will be continuously updated, based on feedback from investment and development stakeholders and by means of "open sourcing" of best practice investment policies.

Taking the Bolivian case as an example, how might the IPFSD be further improved to help policymakers reconcile the Framework's general principles, guidelines and policy options with the national and regional specificities that arise from country's specific development contexts? UNCTAD invites you to contribute your comments and suggestions by means of commenting on this "featured discussion".