Multinationals must take care in Third World, says UN
Tuesday 28 September 1999
Foreign direct investment - companies set up operations in another country - surged by 40 per cent in 1998 to hit a new record of $644bn (pounds 402bn), according to the UN's Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).
It said investment flows would hit another record this year according to early investment. But Unctad said it was concerned about growing disquiet among Third World countries about the impact on local workforces, the environment and the lack of investment.
"A failure by transnational corporations to be constructive ... could exacerbate a backlash already seen against liberalisation policies in some quarters," it said in its World Investment Report.
It contrasted the multinationals' active lobbying for local governments to respect international laws protecting their foreign investments with their "aversion to binding international legal standards regarding corporate operations".
Lynn Mytelka, the Unctad investment director, said: "Transnational corporations have to be told that they have to be responsible corporate citizens and increase their social responsibility. You have to balance rights and responsibilities."
But she said it was up to the host countries to toughen up their legislation to ensure that corporate investors knew what rules they had to obey. "If you don't have traffic lights then people will think they can come in and ride everywhere - even on the sidewalk," she said.
Unctad's concerns included the failure of transnationals to invest in hi-tech facilities, the focus on non-tradable sectors such as financials which did not benefit the host countries' current account, and the export of polluting industries to the Third World.
ChristianAid, the charity, said the report showed that "premature" liberalisation could harm the economies of the host countries. "Investment in host countries will not work without special circumstances and the message of this report is that these circumstances do not exist but have to be created."
The Unctad report also showed that the UK is the sixth most globalised country in the developed world with foreign direct investment making up to 15 per cent of GDP.
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Edgar Froese dead: Tangerine Dream founder dies aged 70
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...