China is one of the many non-member economies with which the OECD has working relationships in addition to its member countries. In October 1995, the OECD Council agreed on a programme of dialogue and co-operation with China. Since then, the OECD has contributed to policy reform in China by sharing its member countries’ experiences in a range of areas. In response, China puts its own policy experience on the table for scrutiny and discussion by OECD member countries. The OECD Council at Ministerial level adopted a resolution on 16 May 2007 to strengthen the co-operation with China, as well as with Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, through a programme of enhanced engagement. While enhanced engagement is distinct from accession to the OECD, it has the potential in the future to lead to membership.
Secretary-General Gurría with Premier Wen Jiabao, Great Hall of the People, Beijing, 19 March 2012 (Photo: Xinhua).
China values the opportunity to discuss major policy issues and challenges in a multilateral context and to learn from the experiences of OECD countries facing similar challenges in many areas. The relationship also benefits OECD members and non-OECD economies, who are increasingly engaged with China through trade and investment, and who have gained a better understanding of China as it has become a major actor in the globalised economy.
How is the co-operation co-ordinated?
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce plays the vital communication role of being the OECD’s official interlocutor. In addition, more than 24 Chinese Ministries and Agencies have co-operated directly with specialists from various OECD directorates and experts from member countries.
The OECD’s Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members develops and oversees the strategic orientation of this relationship and ensures that the dialogue remains focused, forward-looking and mutually beneficial. Usually, meetings are held between Chinese officials and experts from OECD countries and the OECD Secretariat, on topics mutually agreed on and jointly prepared with analytical studies. The dialogue takes place at central government level, but has also involved participation by provincial governments in relation to activities and case studies concerning specific provinces.
Areas of work
China now participates in a broad range of OECD activities. These include competition policy, taxation, statistics, environmental protection, agricultural policies, education policies, foreign direct investment policies, financial system reform, insurance and pensions, corporate governance, budget management and public governance, science and technology, steel, shipbuilding, maritime transport, policies for small and medium-sized enterprises, labour market and social issues, trade and macroeconomic analysis.
China’s participation in OECD general activities
While China is invited to participate as a regular observer in some OECD committees or working groups, it also helps the OECD in its global action by hosting OECD events in China and by actively participating in the OECD’s regional activities in Asia. China recently also joined the Asian Development Bank-OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific. In 2005, a Chinese Minister took part for the first time in the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting.