New Tools in the Fight Against Investment Protectionism

Jim Bacchus, who led the drafting of updated ICC Guidelines on International Investment
Jim Bacchus, who led the drafting of updated ICC Guidelines on International Investment

Former U.S. Congressman and former WTO Appellate Body Chairman Jim Bacchus spoke on behalf of USCIB and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at a May 17 program, “Investment Protectionism and What to Do About It,” at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.

Bacchus, a USCIB delegate to ICC’s Trade and Investment Commission and chair of the drafting committee for the just-released updated ICC Guidelines for International Investment, joined Josh Kallmer, chief investment negotiator with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and Nancy McLernon, president and CEO of the Washington-based Organization for International Investment, on the panel of speakers at the event.

Currently the head of the global practice group at USCIB-member law firm Greenberg Traurig, Bacchus focused his remarks on the newly revised ICC guidelines, which seek to address new challenges in the international investment environment and further promote investment as a driver of economic growth. He explained the thinking that went into the first revision of these global benchmark guidelines since 1972, emphasizing their voluntary nature, their applicability to a wide range of sectors, forms of investment and countries, whether developed or developing.

Bacchus highlighted new chapters in the updated guidelines on emerging topics, including state-owned enterprises and corporate responsibility. The update maintains the fundamental structure from the earlier versions of the ICC guidelines, identifying key recommendations for each of the three main players in investment policy – the investor’s home government, the government of the host country for the investment and the private investor.

A key concept underlying the guidelines is that all three of these actors play important roles in creating successful policies, a welcoming investment climate and beneficial investment projects. In other words, in today’s competitive global economy, good investment policy in not simply a matter of a host government dictating terms to potential investors, but of all three groups working together for mutual benefit.

Bacchus and the other speakers agreed on the vital importance of foreign direct investment, both inward and outbound, in driving economic growth, job creation and competitiveness around the world and here at home. All three speakers noted the need to resist counterproductive investment protectionism, barriers or discrimination against foreign investors.

The three presentations sparked a lively exchange with the audience of academics, business representatives, Congressional staffers and investment policy practitioners. Dan Ikenson, director of Cato’s Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, noted that Cato will be focusing increasingly on international investment issues in the future, as will USCIB.

To view a video of Bacchus’s presentation, please click here.

Staff contact: Shaun Donnelly

More on USCIB’s Trade and Investment Committee

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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