UNCTAD-OECD Report on G20 Investment Measures (24th Report)

The report on investment measures implemented by G20 members during the period from mid-May to mid-October 2020 is delivered against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge human, economic and social toll which it is bringing upon the world. With the pandemic and new lockdowns affecting large numbers of countries, governments continue to struggle to bring the health crisis under control and to mitigate harm. Designing policies that effectively protect the health of populations and at the same time keep economies alive remains a daunting challenge.

This report suggests that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brings significant changes to G20 members’ policies concerning foreign investment. In particular, COVID-19 has accelerated the introduction and strengthening of policies to counter threats to essential security interests that may be associated with foreign investment in the health sector. Overall, risk-related investment policy making has reached a historic all-time high in the first nine and a half months of 2020.

Considering the role of international investment in attenuating the deepening economic crisis, governments should continue creating conditions under which international investment can flourish, while at the same time protecting their essential security interests. Collectively, governments are responsible for upholding the principles of fairness, transparency and predictability. International instruments, guidelines and policy frameworks developed by the international organizations can be instrumental in this regard.

International cooperation on trade and investment among G20 countries will remain essential to overcoming the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to promoting a strong economic recovery. In these circumstances, UNCTAD will continue to monitor policy developments and provide platforms for a multilateral dialogue on how to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis on trade and investment and lay the foundation for a global sustainable recovery.