Investment Policy Monitor No. 23

Countries launch investment policies to counter COVID-19

In addition to reporting on pre-crisis investment policy developments, UNCTAD’s new Investment Policy Monitor documents latest policy responses to the economic fallout from the pandemic (download publication). A Special Monitor devoted exclusively to COVID-19 will follow separately.

UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Monitor (IPM) shows that investment policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic vary from country to country.

They include measures supporting investors and domestic economies in general and policies to protect critical domestic infrastructure and industries, particularly in the health sector. At the international level, the Group of Twenty (G20) and Group of Seven (G7) leading economies have issued statements in support of investment and global value chains.

The pandemic is expected to have a lasting impact on future investment policymaking.

The IPM shows that during the pre-crisis review period (November 2019 - February 2020), investment liberalisation, promotion and facilitation accounted for three-quarters of newly adopted policy measures - a ratio broadly in line with the longer-term policy trend.

At the same time, a further increase in measures related to the screening of foreign investment for national security reasons was observed.

Pandemic may affect international investment agreements

Countries signed at least three international investment agreements (IIAs) during the review period, bringing the total number of IIAs to 3,292.

Newly concluded agreements continue to include reform-oriented provisions, according to the IPM.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, many investment-focused initiatives and events, including high level meetings and summits, have been cancelled or postponed.

The crisis may also have implications on negotiations of international investment agreements.