Tonight, a sub-group of WTO Members will celebrate the conclusion of a break-away agreement on investment facilitation and try to secure its adoption as a plurilateral agreement at this week’s 13th ministerial conference. That can only be done by consensus.
The convenors – South Korea and Chile, backed by China – have announced that plan, in the face of sustained objections from India and South Africa that these negotiations have no legitimacy.
WTO Members have explicitly rejected attempts to get an investment agreement ever since 1996. A decision in 2004 said no discussion of investment negotiations in the WTO until the Doha round is over. It is not. In the 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Conference, WTO Members agreed that any such new issues will only be addressed if agreed by all Members.