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The legacies of the crisis are having an impact in the growth prospects of our economies. According to OECD projections to 2060, growth will be mediocre and certainly lower than in the past, due to low investment, high unemployment and lower growth in emerging economies. This slow growth “new normal” is not, however, inevitable. Economic reforms to improve the productive capacities of our economies will be crucial.
As you know, we bring the Council together at Ministerial level once a year to set the strategic direction of the Organisation for the coming period. We have had lively discussions these past two days, and Ministers have given us a lot of homework!
With the right policy mix and bold decisions, we can turn environmental sustainability into a source of growth, employment and economic resilience. Green can go hand in hand with growth; and the OECD, with your guidance and support, can help our countries to succeed in this urgent economic transformation.
Today, your governments – and many of our Partners – have taken another major step forward by adopting the Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters. More than 60 jurisdictions are now committed to implementing what the G20 recognises as the single, global standard. And more are expected to join soon!
The OECD has now grown into an institution of truly global relevance. And Japan, which was the first Asian country to join the organisation, is now a world economic giant. It is a great honour to introduce the Chairman of the 2014 Ministerial Council Meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Southeast Asia has been experiencing sustained growth for 15 years and according to our “2014 Economic Outlook of Southeast Asia”, growth in the region will average 5.4% per year between 2014 and 2018. However, the region is still facing important challenges, particularly for maintaining its impressive momentum, and transforming its economies to reach higher levels of development and inclusiveness.
After six long years of pain and fear, the major advanced economies are finally building momentum. While two of the four cylinders of the global economy’s growth engine – credit growth and emerging market activity – are still running below full speed, there are encouraging signs that the other two, trade and investment, are finally warming up.
This crisis should be a game-changer. It is time to imagine a new type of growth that is focused on the wellbeing of people, on the benefits of equitable societies, on the trade-offs and complementarities of different policies in favour of human progress, said OECD Secretary-General at the opening of the OECD Forum 2014.
To help contribute to the region’s integration process, to promote sustainable growth and strengthen institutional capacities, members of the OECD are launching tomorrow an ambitious and comprehensive Southeast Asia Regional Programme. It will enrich our won policy debates and recommendations, as we gain a better understanding of the region’s unique perspectives and experiences, it vibrancy, its dynamism, its resolve and its success.
Strengthening the balance sheets of banks and households can benefit the economy as a whole. Sharpening innovation policy can contribute to advancing the country’s competitive edge in key sectors. And improving urban and territorial policy can help ensure that Dutch cities maximise their potential in terms of productivity and lifting living standards across the country, said OECD Secretary-General.