In the March 2017 issue of its Investment Policy Monitor, UNCTAD reports that, during the review period (October 2016-February 2017), several countries took noteworthy investment policy measures at a national level. Among them are the issuance of a comprehensive circular to attract foreign investment in China. Another important featrure was new privatisation measures in France, Greece, South-Korea, The Netherlands and the Russian Federation. On the other hand, Indonesia introduced a foreign ownership limit on electronic payment service firms.
The universe of international investment
agreements (IIAs) is expanding, as countries continue to sign and negotiate new
IIAs, including megaregional initiatives. During the reporting period,
countries concluded 11 bilateral investment treaties and 2 treaties with
investment provisions, bringing the total of IIAs to over 3,300.
18 countries - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China,
Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, (South-) Korea, Myanmar,
the Netherlands, Romania, Russian Federation, United States of America,
Uzbekistan ad Viet Nam -adopted new policy measures relating to the entry and
establishment of foreign investors. The majority of them relaxed restrictions
on foreign ownership or opened up new business opportunities.
Among the most noteworthy investment
liberalisation measures are:
* China issued a circulat setting out the
blueprint for its policies on attracting foreign investment. Inter alia, the
Government decided to revise the "Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign
Investment industries", and to further open various industries.
* The Central Bank of India amended regulations in
order to further liberalise and rationalise the investment regime for foreign
venture capital investors and to encourage foreign investment in startups.
New regulatory or restrictive investment-related
policy measures included:
* Indonesia imposed a 20% limit on foreign
ownership in companies that offer electronic payment services
* The United States prohibited the acquisition of
a U.S. subsidiary of Aixtron by a Chinese company on the basis of national
Treatment of established investment
10 countries - Argentina, China, Colombia,
Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Myanmar, Poland and Romania - took measures
with respect to the treatment of investors after establishment in the host
country. For example:
* Indonesia increased the minimum local content
requirement for domestically-produced 4G smartphones that are sold in the
Indonesian market from 20% to 30%.
* Myanmar revoked the ceiling on the amount of
funds that foreign-local joint venture trading firms can use in their
operations. This removes the obligation to register any additional amounts of
foreign currency required for investment purposes.
International investment agreements (IIAs) signed
During the reporting period, 11 bilateral
investment treaties (BITs) were signed, including:
* BIT between Nigeria and Singapore (4 November
* BIT between Chile and Hong Kong SAR (18 November
* BIT between Israel and Japan (1 February 2017)
Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
On 1-10 December 2016, the 16th round of negotiations
for RCEPT. involving the 10 members if the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN), plus 6 other countries from the region, were held in
Tangerang, Indonesia. Discussions focused on trade in goods, trade in services,
investment, intellectual property rights, competition and e-commerce. The
chapter on Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises was concluded during this round.
This is the second chapter to eb concluded since the inclusion of the chapter
on Economic and Technical Cooperation at the 15th round in Tianjin, China. The
17th round of RCEP negotiations took place in Kobe, Japan, from 27 February - 3
On 30 January 2017, the United Stats issued a
letter to signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) that it
has formally withdrawn from the agreement and that it has no legal obligations
arising from its signature on 4 February 2016. The TPP was originally signed
between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico,
New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Viet Nam on 4 February
Lima Declaration of the Free Trade Area Asia-Pacific
On 20 November 2016, the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting was held in Lima, Peru, where the
Declaration on advancing quality growth and human development was adopted.
Annex A to the Declaration, entitled "Lima Declaration on Free
Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)". encourages the "conclusion of
comprehensive and high-quality" regional trade agreements and free trade
Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement between the EU and
On 20 February 2017, EU Parliamentarians visited
India to discuss matters cncerning EU-India ties, in particular, India BITs
with EU member states, which will cease having effect on 31 March 2017.
However, investments made prior to the termination would enjoy continued
protection under the sunset clauses of the old BITs. The EU delegation
discussed with India the possibility of extending the effective termination
dates of the BITs by at least 6 months. Discussions also focused on the
negotiations of the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement
with India, which have been ongoing since 2007.