WTO MC13 - Template Letter

WTO MC13 - Template Letter

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Letter to assist unions to reach out to their trade ministries and embassies urging opposition to new investment measures under discussion at WTO.

For further insight into the MC13 talks and the issues with the proposed Investment Facilitation Framework see this briefer prepared by Third World Network.

Full text of the letter

We are writing to you to raise an urgent matter regarding the current Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) taking place from the 26th to 29th February.

We have been informed of a proposal to adopt a new Investment Facilitation Discipline at the meeting.  We strongly oppose the adoption of an Investment Facilitation Agreement at the WTO and urge you to audibly and forcibly oppose it too.

The proposed measures are extremely broad, and will constrain all levels of government, including statutory authorities and local governments who are rarely, if ever, consulted about trade rules that restrict their capacity to stimulate local economies and regulate investment so that we enjoy the quality public services we need.

The types of measures that would be covered range from investment codes, public-private partnership laws, licensing procedures and requirements, technical standards, central bank regulations, and administrative measures and proceedings, among others.

Other key policy areas which could be restricted under proposed rules are requirements for environmental or human rights impact assessments, insourcing policies and health policies which concern medical or pharmaceutical licensing and technical standards.

At a time when we face an urgent and vital transition to a low carbon and more just local economies, our government should not be trading away the ability to act and pursue policies in the interests of people and planet. This means governments need to be able to increase revenue, including by ensuring foreign investors contribute more, which may include licensing fees, royalties or other contributions that could be adversely constrained by these new rules under discussion.

We are also concerned that rich countries are pushing for more Joint Statement Initiatives while ignoring the long-standing demands of the ‘developing countries’ to action the Doha Development Round and apply the principles of special and differential treatment and flexibilities for developing countries.

We urge you to clearly oppose the introduction of the Investment Facilitation Agreement at the WTO, to conduct broad consultations and economic, human rights, health and environmental impact assessments before proceeding with any new trade rules, and to insist that the WTO operate under the existing democratic rules which require a consensus amongst all member states for any new rules to be adopted.

Yours sincerely,