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As the Guidelines are drafted in general terms, so as to apply in all adhering countries with their diversity of legal systems and practices, ‘clarifications’ of the meaning of the Guidelines may be necessary in specific circumstances. The purpose of the clarification is to provide additional information about whether and how the Guidelines apply to a particular situation. Although clarifications may arise in connection with the activities of a specific enterprise, they are not intended to assess the appropriateness of that enterprise’s conduct.

Whenever a National Contact Point gives its opinion as to the relevance of the Guidelines in specific instances, it should keep in mind the international character of the Guidelines and the need to avoid conflicting national interpretations. Where there is any doubt or where there are divergent views, the matter should be brought to the attention of the Investment Committee before the National Contact Point gives a final answer. Final responsibility for clarifications lies with the OECD’s Investment Committee, but it relies on the National Contact Points to assume as much as possible of the task of ensuring that the meaning of the Guidelines is clear in each national context.

The OECD’s Investment Committee is charged by OECD ministers with the overarching responsibility for the promotion of the Guidelines. A request for clarification may be referred to the Investment Committee by government authorities or by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD or the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD. The Investment Committee will discuss the matter and consult with BIAC and TUAC. If an enterprise is directly concerned, it may also express its view to the Investment Committee orally or in writing. After these deliberations, the Investment Committee may provide clarification on how the Guidelines apply in a situation like the one in question. The Investment Committee’s examination of the need for, and eventual provision of, a clarification only concerns the application of the Guidelines to the specific issues raised.

Clarifications are not judgments on the behaviour of individual enterprise; hence, clarifications that arise in connection with individual firms do not refer to them by name.