Introductory remarks by Angel Gurría,
Paris, 1 June 2016
(As prepared for delivery)
» See also the keynote address by President Bachelet
1 June 2016 - President of Chile Michelle Bachelet and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría at OECD Headquarters, Paris.
Dear President Bachelet, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to begin the first day of my third mandate as Secretary-General, by welcoming a good friend of the OECD, and our MCM Chair, President Bachelet. She will lead us in our discussions on a key challenge faced by all our countries: enhancing productivity for inclusive growth.
President Bachelet’s government has been confronting these two challenges with strong resolve. I was in Santiago at the end of last year and again last April. On both occasions, President Bachelet referred to the fact that 2016 would be Chile’s Year of Productivity, which involved a nationwide call for “an intelligent, equitable and sustainable productivity” and presenting a series of important programmes. The reduction of inequality is another of her top priorities, either among regions, ethnic groups, women, the young, the elderly, and on improving access to new technologies by a larger share of society.
I see that same commitment in the forward-looking agenda that Chile has put together for this 2016 OECD Ministerial Meeting, with the help of our Vice-Chairs: Finland, Hungary and Japan.
We have spent the last eight years struggling to leave the crisis behind. Global GDP will barely grow by 3% in 2016, and is only set to improve slightly in 2017. Inequalities have kept on rising in many countries, and unemployment remains worrisome. The combined effect of slowing productivity growth and growing inequalities is locking our economies in a low growth trap. So we have devoted this OECD Week, and specifically this Ministerial to explore new ways to enhance productivity for inclusive growth.
And we have a compelling agenda before us, focusing on education, skills and quality jobs; the Next Production Revolution; the digital economy; the best environment for dynamic and inclusive economies. We are presenting an OECD Action Plan on the Sustainable Development Goals and looking at ways to turn trade and investment into engines for inclusive growth.
And we are becoming more inclusive with the signature of the Accession Agreement with Latvia, the progress in the accession process of Colombia, Costa Rica and Lithuania, and the launch of the OECD Latin America and the Caribbean Programme, an initiative that Chile supported enthusiastically, along with Mexico, Spain, Portugal and others. It is an exciting moment for the OECD. We can make a ground-breaking contribution.
Thank you for your leadership chairing this MCM. You may recall that when we signed Chile’s Accession Agreement, I praised “the Chilean Way”, the reform state-of-mind, the unerring commitment, which drove Chile’s transformation. We will be seeing this “Chilean way” in action over the next two days, and I’m excited by what we can achieve together, as friends, as partners, as OECD Members.
Mme President, the floor is yours.