01/06/2018 - The OECD took steps to deepen its engagement with Thailand, South Africa and Peru during the Organisation’s annual Ministerial Meeting and announced it will open an office in Istanbul to provide a base for its growing work with partner countries.
As the OECD continues to broaden its activities beyond member countries, Secretary-General Angel Gurría and Thailand’s Minister Attached to the Office of Prime-Minister, Mr Kobsak Pootrakool, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch a Thailand Country Programme, the first such OECD programme in Southeast Asia. The three-year initiative will support Thailand’s structural reform efforts, focusing on inclusive growth, governance, transparency, the business climate and competitiveness.
Work also started to develop a joint work programme with South Africa, one of the OECD’s five Key Partner countries, aimed at promoting stronger and more inclusive growth. The proposed programme will initially focus on developing small, micro and medium enterprises, promoting trade and investment (including by South Africa adhering to the OECD Code of Liberalisation of Capital Movements) and improving the skills of the South African workforce.
“As we strive to build bridges, resist fragmentation and create more inclusive growth and well-being, the OECD is more committed than ever to working with all countries to the benefit of people all around the world. The initiatives agreed on this week with some of our most important partner countries illustrate the Organisation’s determination to advance its global reach, as well as our dedication to making multilateralism work for all,” Mr Gurría said.
During the OECD’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting, an MOU was also signed with Turkey, a founding member of the Organisation, to set up an OECD Istanbul Centre to enhance the Organisation’s reach and influence in the region and beyond. The Centre will support the OECD’s work with regions as diverse as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Eurasia and Southeast Europe and Southeast Asia.
Earlier in the week, on Monday, Peru deposited the instrument of accession for the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention becoming the 44th Party to the Convention and seventh Latin American country. Peru also deposited its instrument of ratification for the MAAC, joining over 90 jurisdictions participating in the instrument. The Anti-Bribery Convention will enter into force on 27 July 2018 and the MAAC on 1 September 2018.
On Tuesday, Paraguay also signed the OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAAC), making it the 119th jurisdiction to join the world’s leading instrument for boosting transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion. The signing marks a further step in Paraguay’s efforts to implement international tax standards since it joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes and the Inclusive Framework on BEPS in 2016.
While focusing on the work with and for its 37 Member countries, the OECD has steadily expanded its activities to enhance relationships with partner countries in order to advance the global reach of its instruments and policy recommendations. Since 1961, the OECD Development Centre provides a platform for knowledge sharing and policy dialogue between the Organisation’s member countries and developing economies. Specific regional initiatives around the world have been launched over the years, and the OECD-hosted Sahel and West Africa Club promotes and facilitates links with West Africa.
Thailand, a member of the OECD Development Centre since 2005, has joined several core OECD bodies in recent years and adhered to seven of the OECD’s 241 legal instruments.
South Africa participates in 20 OECD bodies and projects, has adhered to 21 legal instruments and works with the Organisation in areas such as tax, energy, education, labour policy, small businesses, local development, science and technology, and investment. South Africa is also well integrated into the OECD statistical tools and databases.
The OECD this month invited Lithuania and Colombia to become its 36th and 37th member countries. Membership talks with Costa Rica are ongoing. Meanwhile Key Partners – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa – contribute to OECD substantive work through participation in OECD Bodies, adherence to OECD legal instruments and integration into OECD statistical reporting.
The OECD Council is also considering Membership Requests by Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Peru and Romania.
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