Investment Policy Monitor No. 6

The Investment Policy Monitor provides policymakers and the international investment community with up-to-date information about the latest developments and salient features in foreign investment policies.

In the review period (April-September 2011), 30 countries adopted 40 national policy measures in connection with investment, and 35 economies concluded 24 new international investment agreements (IIAs).

Seventy-five percent of the observed national policy measures were in the direction of investment liberalization and promotion. In particular many countries from Asia and Europe introduced new investment promotion policies such as simplifying investment procedures, enhancing the protection of foreign investors and easing foreign exchange regulations. In addition, some countries in these regions introduced new promotion programmes for outward foreign direct investment (FDI).

Although the recent deepening of the financial and economic crisis in parts of the world has yet to impact national investment policies, signs are visible that major economies are becoming more and more concerned about the impact of inward and outward investment on their economies. Recent fears about possible macroeconomic shocks and a reoccurrence of the recession could increase the risk of new protectionist measures vis-á-vis foreign investors. The number of investment restrictions accumulated over the recent years and the tightening of administrative procedures, point in this direction.

Amongst the 24 new international investment agreements (IIAs), there are five bilateral investment treaties (BITs), seventeen double taxation treaties (DTTs), and two “other IIAs”. Some developments (e.g. the IIA concluded by EFTA and the granting of three negotiating mandates for Europe-wide IIAs) point towards a further consolidation of the IIA regime at the regional level. At the European level, the public policy discourse about IIAs intensified. Moreover, some recent IIAs contain innovative features aimed at re-balancing the agreements.