Freedom of Investment, Investment Environment, and Social Responsibility was one of the key themes at the annual summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations (G8) which took place in Heiligendamm, Germany, from 6-8 June 2007.
The G8 Summit Declaration of 7 June 2008 called for continuation of the OECD Investment Committee's project on Freedom of Investment, National Security and "Strategic" Industries, additional non-member adherences to the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, active use of the OECD Policy Framework for Investment in developing countries, effective implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and wider dissemination of the OECD Risk Awareness for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones. The G8 Summit Declaration of 8 June on Africa called for increased support for the NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative.
The text from pages 3-8 is reproduced below. The full text of the G8 Summit Declaration, as well as all other documentation relating to the summit can be accessed via the G8 website at www.g-8.de.
FREEDOM OF INVESTMENT, INVESTMENT ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
9. We recognize that the increase of cross-border direct investment is a major factor shaping the world’s economy. Provided appropriate framework conditions are in place, such inflows make a major positive contribution to economic growth, social and environmental development. We note four areas for action in order to maximize the benefits from cross-border investment:
reinforcing our G8 commitment to the freedom of investment,
promoting an open investment environment in industrialised countries and emerging economies,
enabling greater benefits from and sustainability of foreign direct investments (FDI) for developing countries,
promoting and strengthening corporate and other forms of social responsibility.
Freedom of investment
10. We will work together to strengthen open and transparent investment regimes and to fight against tendencies to restrict them. Erecting barriers and supporting protectionism would result in a loss of prosperity. We therefore agree on the central role of free and open markets for the world economy, respecting sustainability concerns, and the need to maintain open markets to facilitate global capital movements. We reaffirm that freedom of investment is a crucial pillar of economic growth, prosperity and employment. We call on all developed countries, major emerging economies and others to critically assess their investment policies, the potential costs incurred from unnecessarily restrictive or arbitrary policies and the economic benefits of open investment regimes.
11. Against this background we remain committed to minimize any national restrictions on foreign investment. Such restrictions should apply to very limited cases which primarily concern national security. The general principles to be followed in such cases are non-discrimination, transparency and predictability. In any case, restrictive measures should not exceed the necessary scope, intensity and duration. Applicable treaties relating to investment remain unaffected. We encourage the OECD to continue its work on these issues, especially by identifying best practices and by further developing general principles. We will work with the OECD and other fora to develop further our common understanding of transparency principles for market-driven cross border investment of both private and state-owned enterprises.
The global investment environment
12. Emerging economies benefit considerably from inward FDI while acting increasingly as countries of origin of FDI. We see the need and the opportunity to work towards a level playing field for all investors. Companies from G8 countries investing in emerging economies expect to find the same open investment environment as companies from such countries investing in G8 countries. Openness to investment is beneficial for all parties involved.
13. We underscore that market-driven technology transfer is an important globalisation catalyst. Governments have a role in establishing and maintaining the appropriate institutions and legal regulatory policy frameworks necessary to enable technology flows on a commercial basis and assuring the respect of intellectual property rights.
14. Open and transparent procurement markets are an important precondition for cross-border invest-ments. We invite all our partners, in particular the major emerging economies, to create a level playing field for national and foreign tenderers. This may include considerations to join the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
15. We call on the emerging economies to adopt the OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. We invite the major emerging economies to participate in a structured High Level Dialogue on investment conditions in industrialised countries and emerging economies as part of the Heiligendamm Process. A stocktaking exercise, an examination of best practices and the implementation of peer review mechanisms to promote an open, efficient investment environment that aims to remove remaining barriers to investment should be a good start. We ask the OECD to provide a platform for such a dialogue.
Investment in developing countries
16. Unlike industrialized and emerging economies, many less advanced developing countries often reap only inadequate benefits from FDI. In shared responsibility with our developing country partners we want to enable quality FDI inflows to grow, inflows that help local infrastructure facilitate the operations of national and foreign investors that improve the skills of the local labour force and the advantages of transfers of management skills and technology that accrue from FDI increase, and that support the ability of domestic firms to supply inputs to foreign-invested companies or strengthen international value chains. Economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainability are crucial in order to maximize the FDI benefits for all developing countries, including least developed countries.
17. We support the regional and multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), in addressing the problem of poor business environments in their borrowing members and urge them to integrate efforts to address these impediments to investment in their country strategies and budgets.
18. We support the initiative of G8 Finance Ministers to foster the development of deeper, more liquid local bond markets in emerging economies. This can make an important contribution to reducing the vulnerability of individual countries to crises and to enhancing the financial stability of emerging countries as a whole.
19. We support the OECD Policy Framework for Investment and UNCTAD Investment Policy Reviews as valuable mechanisms in defining a shared understanding of healthy investment climates in emerging economies and developing countries. The OECD Policy Framework for Investment could be translated into national practices and development strategies, especially for countries under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) framework. We invite the OECD, UNCTAD and other organisations such as the World Bank to consider providing the necessary support for this purpose.
20. We invite UNCTAD and the OECD to jointly engage industrialized countries, emerging economies and developing countries in the development of best practices for creating an institutional environment conducive to increased foreign investment and sustainable development. Such a comprehensive process should be closely connected with the twelfth UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII) planned for 20th to 25th April 2008 in Accra (Ghana).
Investment and responsibility – the social dimension of globalization
21. Globalization and technological progress have resulted in rapid structural change in many regions and economic sectors. We acknowledge that structural change is the inevitable result of progress and that it brings dislocations along with opportunities. Open markets rest on political acceptance, social inclusion, gender equality and the integration of traditionally under-represented groups such as older workers, youth, immigrants and persons with disabilities. In order to address the social dimension of the globalisation process, we identify the four following areas of action.
22. Promoting and further developing social standards: We are convinced that a globalisation that is complemented with social progress will bring sustainable benefits to both industrial and developing countries. We recognize our responsibility for an active contribution towards this objective. Therefore, we support the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Decent Work Agenda with its four pillars of equal importance: the effective implementation of labour standards, especially the ILO core labour standards, the creation of more productive employment, further development of inclusive social protection systems and the support of social dialogue between the different stakeholders.
23. While stressing that labour standards should not be used for protectionist purposes, we invite the WTO members and interested international organizations, in close collaboration with the ILO, to promote the observance of internationally recognized core labour standards as reflected in the ILO declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights and its follow-up. We also commit to promoting decent work and respect for the fundamental principles in the ILO Declaration in bilateral trade agreements and multilateral fora.
24. Strengthening the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility: In this respect, we commit ourselves to promote actively internationally agreed corporate social responsibility and labour standards (such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO Tripartite Declaration), high environmental standards and better governance through OECD Guidelines’ National Contact Points. We call on private corporations and business organizations to adhere to the principles in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. We encourage the emerging economies as well as developing countries to associate themselves with the values and standards contained in these guidelines and we will invite major emerging economies to a High Level Dialogue on corporate social responsibility issues using the OECD as a platform.
25. We stress in particular the UN Global Compact as an important CSR initiative; we invite corporations from the G8 countries, emerging nations and developing countries to participate actively in the Global Compact and to support the worldwide dissemination of this initiative.
26. Infuture and a cost-effective way of fighting poverty. It includes appropriate protection against life's major risks and appropriate coverage for everyone, aiming at improved education and health. Social protection has the capacity to contribute to individual employability and to ensure that those who can work obtain adequate support to find employment and to obtain skills demanded by the labour market. order to strengthen the voluntary approach of CSR, we encourage the improvement of the transparency of private companies’ performances with respect to CSR, and clarification of the numerous standards and principles issued in this area by many different public and private actors. We invite the companies listed on our Stock Markets to assess, in their annual reports, the way they comply with CSR standards and principles. We ask the OECD, in cooperation with the Global Compact and the ILO, to compile the most relevant CSR standards in order to give more visibility and more clarity to the various standards and principles.
27. Reinforcing Corporate Governance: Corporate governance is a key element in improving economic efficiency and growth as well as enhancing investor confidence. Good corporate governance provides proper incentives for the board and management to pursue objectives that are in the interests of the company and its shareholders and facilitates effective monitoring and surveillance. While corporate governance challenges are present everywhere, they are particularly acute in emerging economies. We encourage the widest adherence to the OECD Corporate Governance Principles and support the continuation of the work of the OECD / World Bank Regional Corporate Governance Roundtables.
28. Investing in social protection systems: Social protection is an investment in a country's economic future and a cost-effective way of fighting poverty. It includes appropriate protection against life's major risks and appropriate coverage for everyone, aiming at improved education and health. Social protection has the capacity to contribute to individual employability and to ensure that those who can work obtain adequate support to find employment and to obtain skills demanded by the labour market.
Documentation and links: