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Liberalisation policies up, restrictions down - UNCTAD report

UNCTAD's latest Investment Policy Monitor shown that the vast majority of new investment policy measures were aimed at creating more favourable investment conditions, with policies of liberalisation and investment promotion up and restrictions and regulations down.

UNCTAD's Investment Policy Monitor found that 33 countries and economies took 45 investment policy measures in the review period (March - December 2014).

The share of liberalisation and promotion measures reached 82% - slightly above the average of recent years.

These policies were adopted in important sectors and industries, including air transportation, national defence, railway infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, power plants and telecommunication.

Despite these numerous measures aimed at improving investment conditions, there are also new concerns about the role of foreign investors in host countries.

New investment restrictions for foreign investment mainly related to oil production, data communication and media companies.

A recent UNCTAD survey shows that countries increasingly pay attention to sustainable development in their national investment policies.

However, the share of such measures among all investment-related policy changes is still low (approximately 8%). More can be done in investment policies to enhance the contribution of foreign investment to sustainable development goals.

Regarding international investment policies, the Monitor found that 51 economies concluded 26 new international investment agreements (IIAs). These include 14 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and 12 'other IIAs'. Negotiations for one mega-regional agreement (CETA) were concluded and negotiations for six others continue.

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