Interactive Webinar: The case for and against a WTO Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation

WTO Paths Forward
Organised by
9 October 2018

Registration is required to attend this interactive webinar. Please register at:

Intensive structured discussions on a multilateral framework on investment facilitation are underway in the WTO, following a Joint Ministerial Statement on Investment Facilitation for Development adopted by 70 members at the Organization’s 11th Ministerial Conference in December last year. They are conducted against a 23% fall in foreign direct investment flows in 2017, and projections indicating a fragile growth for 2018.

Regardless of the momentum, a number of countries, including developing countries, are reluctant to engage in these structured discussions. Their concerns persist despite the joint statement explicitly stating that the core objective for creating the framework is to increase the participation of developing and least developing countries in global investment flows.

This webinar—which will be conducted in an interactive manner and allow for questions by participants—will discuss the principal issues surrounding the negotiations of a multilateral framework on investment facilitation.  The questions addressed include the following:

- Why a multilateral framework on investment facilitation?

- What could such a framework contain and would it promote sustainable FDI?

- Why should such a binding framework be negotiated in the WTO?

- What are the specific needs of, and benefits for, developing countries?

- Where do we go from here?

WTO: Paths Forward is an ICTSD initiative that provides the research, ideas and neutral spaces negotiators need to ensure the technical work required for a successful 12th WTO Ministerial Conference moves forward.

Karl P. Sauvant is an ICTSD Senior Fellow - Investment, Resident Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), a joint center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scholar, Columbia Law School; Guest Professor, Nankai University, China. Former: Founding Executive Director, Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment; Director of the Investment Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Created the prestigious annual World Investment Report, of which he was the lead author until 2004. Authored a substantial number of publications on issues related to economic development, FDI and services. Honors: Fellow of the Academy of International Business and an Honorary Fellow of the European International Business Academy. PhD, University of Pennsylvania. 

Ambassador Gonzalez is the Permanent Representative of Colombia to the WTO and Deputy Representative to the WIPO since August 2016. He is the current Chairman of the Trade Policy Review Body (WTO). Before joining the Permanent Mission, he was Acting CEO at ProColombia (2016), Colombia´s Exports, Investment and Tourism Promotion Agency, and Executive Vice-President for Foreign Direct Investment at the same organization since 2008. Previously, he was Economic and Trade Attaché at the Colombian Embassy in Japan; Executive Vice-President at the Invest in Colombia Corporation; Director for International Affairs at the National Directorate of Taxes and Customs; and Adviser for Economic and Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He holds an Undergraduate Degree in Economics from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá), a Master´s of Arts Degree in International Studies from the University of Washington (Seattle), and an MBA from the Melbourne Business School in Australia.


Felipe Hees is a Brazilian diplomat with a background in trade negotiations. He holds a Ph.D. in Brazilian History from the University of Brasília, Brazil, and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. As trade negotiator, Mr. Hees has experience ranging from services, investment, e-commerce, agriculture, antidumping, safeguards, subsidies, countervailing measures, SPS, and other issues in the multilateral, regional and bilateral context (Mercosur, Free Trade Area of the Americas, Mercosur/European Union, WTO). Mr. Hees has also served as panelist in WTO dispute settlement cases and has authored several publications in his field. He was the Director of the Brazilian Trade Remedies Authority from 2011-2014 and headed the unit responsible for trade negotiations with Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. Mr. Hees holds a degree in Economics (UNICAMP, Brazil).



Hamid Mamdouh is a Senior Counsel at King & Spalding LLP and former Director of the Trade in Services and Investment Division of the WTO. Prior to that he was a Senior Counsellor in the Services Division and was the Secretary of the WTO Council for Trade in Services since the establishment of the WTO in 1995.  During that time, he was also responsible for legal affairs in the area of Trade in Services.  During the Uruguay Round negotiations his responsibilities included legal matters relating to the negotiation and the drafting of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). His previous positions in the GATT include:  Assistant to the Deputy Director-General of the GATT and legal advisor on GATT dispute settlement.  Prior to that he was a trade negotiator with the diplomatic service of Egypt.






Kavaljit Singh

Director, Madhyam

Rashmi Jose is a Senior Programme Officer, Investment and Regulatory Systems at ICTSD having previously been a Programme Officer for ICTSD's E15 Initiative. Ms. Jose earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Anthropology from New York University, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She previously worked as a financial analyst at Procter & Gamble in Geneva, Switzerland, and has had value chain consulting experience at TechnoServe, a non-profit development consultancy headquartered in Washington D.C. Furthermore, she accumulated a knowledge base on international trade issues, having completed internships at the International Trade Center and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Ms. Jose is a citizen of Switzerland.