Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at Gaidar Forum
15 January 2014, Moscow, Russian Federation
As prepared for delivery
First Deputy Prime Minister Mr Shuvalov, Prof Mau, Dr. Djankov, Mr Gooch, Mr Brechalov, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the opportunity to conclude what has been a very productive and fruitful discussion regarding “Russia on the way to OECD”.
Russia and the OECD have been working together for over 20 years, with our relationship growing closer since 2007, when Russia embarked on the path towards becoming a full member of the organisation. During this period, Russia has intensified its participation with the Organisation and signed on to some of the landmark OECD standards. Some notable examples include Russia joining the Anti-Bribery Convention as well as the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
Recently, we have observed an increased momentum to the accession process, helped by the Russian government’s commitment to accelerate the technical reviews. In particular, the government’s meeting on OECD accession that took place last November has led to greater dynamism in the accession reviews and a higher quality of the policy dialogue. We very much welcome these developments, as the conclusion of the accession depends critically on the willingness of the Russian authorities to move towards OECD standards.
Russia’s more intensive participation is also of great benefit to the OECD. Russia brings a wealth of experiences that will add a fresh and unique perspective to our policy discussions and recommendations, and Russia’s accession contributes to make the OECD a more diverse and inclusive institution, ensuring its relevance in the years ahead. Emerging, developing and advanced economies need to work together to address current global challenges and Russia’s unique experience will enrich the OECD’s knowledge and debate on key policy issues.
The accession process also has the potential for bringing huge benefits to Russia and its citizens. Accession to the OECD is not merely a formality; it is not a prize awarded for having ticked certain boxes. OECD accession is instead a catalyst for reform, by identifying how Russia’s policies can deliver better results by drawing on OECD standards and best practices.
And the benefits of these changes will be reaped by the people of Russia themselves. OECD recommendations are a means to achieve Russia’s own policy priorities – to diversify the economy, boost foreign investment and promote sustainable growth. Russia wants to modernise, and the OECD accession process can act as a driver for these important domestic reforms.
Beyond the recommendations I described earlier in my presentation of the Economic Survey, the OECD accession process has identified specific areas for improvement, such as strengthening corporate governance practices, raising public sector efficiency and helping to make environmental regulation smarter and more efficient.
We urge Russia to see OECD accession as a means to get the economy on track and not as a negotiation or an end in itself. Russia should take action on the areas for improvement identified by the OECD, not because it is required for accession, but because it is in the interest of Russia itself. We hope that the business community and wider public in Russia will support these reforms, which have the potential to revitalise the Russian economy by improving competitiveness and fostering economic growth.
These benefits will continue beyond the accession process. As a member of the OECD, Russia will have access to all of the OECD’s expert research and analysis, participate in policy discussions on cutting edge issues and contribute to the OECD’s influential work in setting new global standards. Being an OECD member means being willing to share your experiences, whether positive or negative, and being open to learning from the experiences of others.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Russia’s accession to the OECD will be of great value to Russian society, and it is also a win-win situation for the OECD. Russia’s unique experiences and competencies in areas like public debt management, labour force participation and education rates, as well as its expertise in some high-tech sectors, will add great weight to the policy discussions and peer-learning dialogue amongst our member countries. This will reinforce all of our members’ capacities to overcome the many policy challenges that continue to hamper our governments and impede the path to sustainable, long-term inclusive growth.
We are looking forward to the day that we can draw on Russia’s unique expertise and experiences in all of our committees and forums as a full member of the organisation, and stand ready to support Russia as it moves full speed ahead on its “way to the OECD.”
Thank you / Spasiba bolshoi