The enlargement process
Global reach has been an integral part of the OECD mission from its beginning. Article 1 of the Convention states that members “should contribute to sound economic expansion in member as well as non-member countries in the process of economic development.” At that time OECD economies comprised a vast share of world production and trade. But as more countries have embarked on integration into the global economy, that share is diminishing.
In order to remain an influential voice in the world economy, through policy analysis, dialogue and rule-making, the OECD must strengthen its links with other countries.
How quickly can the OECD enlarge?
The accession procedure is complex and can be long, as it involves a series of examinations to assess a country’s ability to meet OECD standards in a wide range of policy areas. This makes it difficult to bring on board more than a small number of new members at the same time. That is why the OECD started accession negotiations with a few countries in 2007, while at the same time strengthening its relations, with other major economies in a process that it refers to as “Enhanced Engagement”.
Pictured (from left to right): Estonian Ambassador to the OECD, Sven Jürgenson, and Jean-Sébastien Conty, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Estonia deposited its instrument of accession to the OECD Convention, Paris, 9 December 2010, thereby becoming a member of the Organisation.
While Enhanced Engagement programmes are distinct from accession to the OECD, they have the potential in the longer term to lead to membership of the Organisation, should the participating countries decide to explore that possibility.
How does the OECD currently work with non-OECD economies?
The OECD engages with a large number of economies outside its membership. Many are actively involved in core OECD activities, for example as observers or participants in OECD Committees, and main Working Groups or Expert Groups, where representatives of each of the member countries review progress and discuss policy in specific areas. Currently this is the case of 25 non-members in 43 Committees and main Working Groups.
The OECD also has close and ongoing relations with selected countries, notably Brazil, China and Russia, through specific country programmes. An OECD-Russia Programme launched in 1992 has conducted work across a wide range of areas relevant to Russia’s market reform process, including regulatory reform, taxation, competition, anti-corruption, and investment. In 1996, the Organisation launched a programme of dialogue and co-operation with China, reflecting the common interest of both sides in China’s stable and effective integration into the world trading system. Since then, the OECD has contributed to policy reform in China by sharing its member countries’ experiences in a broad range of areas, such as investment, governance, the environment and agriculture. In 1998, the OECD launched a co-operation programme with Brazil which has led to the publication of a range of studies covering such areas as agriculture, competition policy, tax and securities market reform, and insurance and private pensions. Co-operation with India is developing.
In parallel, programmes such as the MENA Initiative on Governance and Investment for Development in the Middle East and North African regions provide a basis for relations between the Organisation and other countries using a regional approach. These initiatives aim to strengthen countries’ capacity to design and implement policy reforms, by means of policy dialogue and the sharing of experience among policy makers. The OECD works with African countries within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and with countries in South East Europe through the Investment Compact for South East Europe.
The OECD’s principal vehicle for policy dialogue with other economies outside of its membership is a set of specialized initiatives with global participation: the OECD Global Forums. Created in 2001, these enable participants to exchange experience on a range of issues transcending national frontiers.
What are the steps to enlargement?
1. First the Who does what , the decision-making body of the OECD, invites The Secretary-General to open discussions for accession with one or several countries selected by Council. The accession process serves as a tool to increase the policy convergence of the country considered for membership with existing OECD members. On 16 May 2007 the OECD Council at Ministerial level adopted a resolution to open membership discussions with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia.
2. An “Accession Roadmap” is developed to detail the process of accession. This roadmap lists the reviews to be undertaken in various policy areas in order to assess the country’s position with respect to the relevant OECD instruments, standards and benchmarks and identifies the Committees and Working groups to be involved in such reviews. Roadmaps for the accession of Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia to the OECD Convention were signed in 2007.
3. The reviews take place, in a non pre-determined time span, and their results are reported to the Council.
4. The Council takes a final decision on a basis of unanimity. Once this decision has been taken, the candidate deposits an instrument of accession to the OECD Convention with the depositary, i.e. the French government. On 15 December 2009, Chile was invited to become a member of the OECD. An Accession Agreement was signed in Santiago on 11 January 2010 and Chile deposited its instrument of accession to the OECD Convention on 7 May 2010. Estonia, Israel and Slovenia were invited to join the Organisation on 10 May 2010. Estonia signed an Accession Agreement on 3 June 2010 and deposited its instrument of accession to the OECD Convention on 9 December 2010. Israel signed an Accession Agreement on 28 June 2010 and deposited its instrument of accession to the OECD Convention on 7 September 2010. Slovenia signed an Accession Agreement on 1 June 2010 and deposited its instrument of accession to the OECD Convention on 21 July 2010.
What is an "Accession Roadmap"?
The “Accession Roadmap” describes the process of accession; lists the policy reviews to be undertaken, the Committees to be consulted and how they should proceed; stipulates the steps that the candidate country should take to conclude the process; and indicates the amount of resources required to cover the costs of the procedure. The cost of the accession process should be covered by the candidate country.
What is the role of the Council in the accession process?
As the decision-making body of the OECD, bringing together representatives of each of the 34 member countries and of the European Commission, the Council controls all aspects of the accession process. The Council takes the final decision on the basis of the assessments of the country’s position with respect to the relevant OECD instruments, standards and benchmarks, as well as of any other considerations it deems appropriate. It then invites the Secretary-General to convey officially to the country the terms and conditions of its accession to the OECD Convention. The Council may, at any point in the process, address any political issues that arise with the representatives of the candidate country.
What is the role of the Committees?
The Committees, bringing together experts from OECD countries, are responsible for the OECD’s substantive work. In the accession process, their role is to assess the candidate country’s willingness and ability to become a member of the Organisation, notably in relation to its ability to assimilate the OECD “acquis” in their specific areas of competence.
What is the OECD “acquis”?
The concept of the OECD “acquis”, which must be accepted by all potential member countries, has two principal elements. Firstly, it implies the acceptance of all of the internal rules of the Organisation. Secondly, it requires a positioning of the candidate country with respect to all existing OECD instruments.
Accession : OECD welcomes Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia
OECD Council Resolution on Enlargement and Enhanced Engagement
to be changed
A strategy for enlargement and outreach
OECD Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members - CCNM
Video: Membership Talks