I wish to share with you the latest
Special Issue of UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Monitor. It documents and analyses
investment policies response to the crisis. Below are the highlights.
- Numerous countries around the globe have taken a variety of measures in support of investment or for protecting critical domestic
industries in the crisis.
Support measures include the speeding up of investment approval procedures, the accelerated use of online tools and e-platforms, COVID-19-related services of investment promotion agencies,
incentive schemes for health-related R&D and medical supplies, the acquisition by states of equity in struggling domestic key companies as well as state loans and guarantees for domestic suppliers in value chains.
To protect their health sector and industries in other sectors considered as particularly important in the crisis, several countries have tightened foreign investment screening mechanisms.
Other investment-related State interventions in the health industry include mandatory production, export bans for medical equipment and a reduction of import duties for medical devices.
The pandemic will slow the pace of investment treaty-making. At the same time, policy responses taken by governments to address the pandemic and its economic fallout could create friction with
existing investment treaty obligations, hence the risk of investor-State disputes.
The pandemic is likely to have lasting effects on investment policy making. It may solidify the ongoing trend towards more restrictive admission policies for foreign investment in key industries.
At the same time, the pandemic may trigger increased competition for attracting investment in other industries as economies seek to recover from the crisis. It may also boost the use of online administrative approval procedures for investment matters. And
it may provide further impetus to the reform of investment treaty regime.
For in-depth analysis on the impact of pandemic on global investment prospects and policy developments, please see
World Investment Report 2020: International Production beyond Covid-19 Crisis (forthcoming in June).
James X. Zhan
Director, Investment and Enterprise
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development
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