UNCTAD-OECD Report on G20 Investment Measures (27th report)

When the Global Financial Crisis broke out, in 2008 and early 2009, G20 members committed to refrain from introducing new barriers to investment or trade. They complemented this commitment by a request that WTO, OECD and UNCTAD monitor and report publicly on their new trade and investment policy measures. This 27th monitoring report on investment measures by G20 members, jointly prepared by the UNCTAD and OECD Secretariats, documents measures that G20 Governments have taken in relation to their pledge. It covers investment and investment-related measures adopted between 1 October 2021 and 15 May 2022.

In the reporting period, G20 Members have made few adjustments to their investment policies, continuing the observation made for the previous semester. This confirms that the haste to adopt emergency pandemic-related investment policy measures has subsided and G20 members have now returned to less frequent adjustments of their policies that had been observed in the pre-pandemic period. Concerns about the implications that certain investments can have for essential security interests continue to occupy G20 members, as documented by several adjustments in this area of investment policy. The report also documents investment policy measures that some G20 governments have taken since February 2022 in response to the war in Ukraine, as these measures are highly consequential for international investment globally.

Despite the continued collective appreciation of openness to international investment, the current developments may lead to a reflection on international investment’s wider implications. Following shortly on the exposure of dependencies experienced in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demonstration of vulnerabilities associated with international investment may lead some governments to turn inwards. That would be dangerous: the world is facing other crises, most notably the climate crisis, as well as continued and deepening poverty across and within societies that can only be addressed collectively and if the opportunities of international investment are fully realised.

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