The revised guidelines address businessmen and women, officials and stakeholders

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Manama: The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has re-issued its Guidelines for International Investment to adapt to new challenges of the international investment environment and to promote investment as a driver of economic growth.
The revised guidelines - addressed to members of the global business community, government officials and stakeholders - were launched at the World Investment Forum, organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Doha, Qatar.
While the value of cross-border direct investment has grown substantially in the past decade, international investors have reason to be concerned about the impact of recent developments and policies on the free flow of international investment.
"Investment underpins economic growth and has shared value for companies and governments alike," Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board for Nestle, said. "It allows companies to establish themselves in global markets and creates ties between domestic and foreign companies, allowing them to expand their activities and create new jobs."
The aim is for the Guidelines to facilitate cross-border investment for investors and governments, as well as to harness the vast potential of cross-border investment for stimulating balanced global growth, the ICC said in a statement. Trade and investment have the potential to reinvigorate the global economy during the present economic crisis, particularly by driving sustainable growth in developing countries.
"The nature of investment has evolved geographically, with developing economies accounting for more investment inflows and outflows," said James Bacchus, Chair of the drafting group for the revised guidelines.
According to the statement, there has been a sharp increase, since the original Guidelines were drafted in 1972, in international investment inflows to, and outflows from, developing and transition economies. In 2010, these accounted for 52 per cent of the total investment inflows and 29 per cent of total investment outflows.
Global inward investment flows now approach $1.2 trillion and sales of affiliates worldwide are just under $30 trillion, far in excess of world trade flows. There are also more than 2,800 bilateral investment treaties, many of them south-south.
The contribution of cross border investment to the global economy could however be even greater if the conditions for investment and trade were more effectively set out. ICC has integrated emerging areas of concern for business into the Guidelines, which were first produced in 1949.
These issues have been grouped into three categories, business confidence regarding sovereign debt policies, macro-economic imbalances, taxation, and regulatory uncertainty, re-regulation of foreign investment and state-owned enterprises and Sovereign Wealth Funds.
Updates to the guidelines were significant in the chapters on labour and fiscal policy, reflecting the environment for international investment today, while new chapters on competitive neutrality and corporate responsibility have been added.
"The revision of the ICC Guidelines for International Investment provides another opportunity for business to voice its concerns about how the regulatory environment can encourage economic growth," ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier said. "To invest, business needs to know that it is being supported by effective regulations, and that further barriers to trade will not be put up,".
ICC said that it has been leading the global business community with initiatives - including the ICC Business World Trade Agenda and the ICC G20 Advisory Group - that encourage dialogue between business and government, in a bid to establish practical policies for opening trade and investment.
The ICC Business World Trade Agenda initiative will feature consultations with business executives around the world over the next year in preparation for the World Business Summit, being hosted by ICC Qatar in April 2013, back-to-back with the ICC WCF Eighth World Chambers Congress.
The aim of this initiative is to provide fresh solutions to opening global trade following the stalemate in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization trade negotiations.
ICC will also feed trade and investment proposals into the G20 policy process, with the aim of strengthening the trade and investment policy component of the G20 agenda.