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On Planning for Development: Foreign  Investments
Published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD

World Investment Report 2015 - Reforming International Investment Governance
World Investment Report 2015 - Overview - 25 Jun 2015, 581.1 KB
Preface, Key Messages and Overview - 14 Pages, 221KB

Report is particularly timely in light of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa – and the many vital discussions underscoring the importance of FDI, international investment policy making and fiscal regimes to the implementation of the new development agenda and progress towards the future sustainable development goals.
The World Investment Report tackles the key challenges in international investment protection and promotion, including the right to regulate, investor-state dispute settlement, and investor responsibility. Furthermore, it examines the fiscal treatment of international investment, including contributions of multinational corporations in developing countries, fiscal leakage through tax avoidance, and the role of offshore investment links.
The Report offers a menu of options for the reform of the international investment treaties regime, together with a roadmap to guide policymakers at the national, bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. It also proposes a set of principles and guidelines to ensure coherence between international tax and investment policies.

CHAPTER I Global Investment Trends - 28 Pages, 1873KB

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows fell by 16 per cent in 2014 to $1.23 trillion, down from $1.47 trillion in 2013. The decline in FDI flows was influenced mainly by the fragility of the global economy, policy uncertainty for investors and elevated geopolitical risks. New investments were also offset by some large divestments. The decline in FDI flows was in contrast to growth in GDP, trade, gross fixed capital formation and employment (table I.1).

Regional Investment Trends
- 72 Pages, 5617KB

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows fell by 16 per cent overall in 2014 to $1.23 trillion, down from $1.47 trillion in 2013, but with considerable variance - between country groups and regions. FDI flows to developing economies increased by 2 per cent to reach their highest level at $681 billion in 2014, accounting for 55 per cent of global FDI inflows (table II.1). Five of the top 10 host economies now are developing ones. However, the increase in developing country inflows is, overall, primarily a developing Asia story. FDI inflows to that region grew by 9 per cent to $465 billion, constituting the lion’s share of total FDI in developing economies. Africa’s overall inflows remained flat at $54 billion, while those to Latin America and the Caribbean saw a 14 per cent decline to $159 billion, after four years of consecutive increases. FDI to transition economies dropped by more than half to $48 billion. Inflows to developed economies as a whole fell by 28 per cent to $499 billion, decreasing both in Europe and North America. Flows to Europe fell by 11 per cent to $289 billion, one third of their 2007 peak, while in North America FDI dropped 51 per cent to $146 billion.

Recent Policy Developments and Key Issues
- 18 Pages, 1563KB

Countries’ investment policy measures continue to be predominantly directed towards investment liberalization, promotion and facilitation. Measures geared towards investment in sectors important for sustainable development are still relatively few. In 2014, according to UNCTAD’s count, 37 countries - and economies adopted 63 policy measures affecting foreign investment. Of these measures, 47 related to liberalization, promotion and facilitation of investment, while 9 introduced new restrictions or regulations on investment (table III.1). The share of liberalization and promotion increased significantly, from 73 per cent in 2013 to 84 per cent in 2014 (figure III.1).

Chapter III - (Annex tables I and II) - 5 Pages, 317KB

CHAPTER IV - 56 Pages, 1676KB

Growing unease with the current functioning of the global international investment agreement (IIA) regime, together with today’s sustainable development imperative, the greater role of governments in the economy and the evolution of the investment landscape, have triggered a move towards reforming international investment rule making to make it better suited for today’s policy challenges. As a result,the IIA regime is going through a period of reflection, review and revision. As evident from UNCTAD’s October 2014 World Investment Forum (WIF), from the heated public debate taking place in many countries, and from various parliamentary hearing processes, including at the regional level, a shared view is emerging on the need for reform of the IIA regime to ensure that it works for all stakeholders. The question is not about whether to reform or not, but about the what, how and extent of such reform.

International Tax and Investment Policy Coherence
- 44 Pages, 1811KB

Intense debate and concrete policy work is ongoing in the international community on the fiscal contribution of multinational enterprises (MNEs). The focus is predominantly on tax avoidance – notably in the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project. At the same time, sustained investmentis needed in global economic growth and development, especially in light of financing needs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The policy imperative is, and should be, to take action against tax avoidance to support domestic resource mobilization and to continue to facilitate productive investment. The fiscal contribution of MNEs, or the avoidance thereof, has been at the centre of attention for some time. Numerous instances of well-known firms paying little or no taxes in some jurisdictions despite obviously significant business interests have led to public protests, consumer action and intense regulatory scrutiny. Action groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have brought to light cases of abusive fiscal practices of MNEs in some of the poorest developing countries. Broad support in the international community for action against tax avoidance by MNEs has led to a G20 initiative to counter BEPS, led by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is the main (and mainstream) policy action in the international tax arena at the moment.

Chapter V (Annex I: Establishing the baseline: estimating the fiscal contribution of multinational enterprises) - 25 Pages, 719KB
Chapter V (Annex II: An FDI-driven approach to measuring the scale and economic impact of BEPS) - 28 Pages, 1212KB
Chapter V (Annex III: Policy action against tax avoidance by MNEs: existing measures and ongoing discussions) - 8 Pages, 223KB

ANNEX TABLES - 20 Pages, 1073KB

Methodological Note - 60 Pages, 449KB

The UNCTAD work programme on FDI Statistics documents and analyses global and regional trends in FDI, and assist developing countries in formulating FDI policies based on quality FDI data, and information of TNCs operating in the region or the country.

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