Remarks by Angel Gurría
Tokyo, Japan, 14 April 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Mr. Nikai, Mr. Nishimura, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by thanking Mr. Hidetoshi Nishimura and his team at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia – or ERIA – for their support and very effective partnership with the OECD since 2014. I am very pleased that Mr. Toshihiro Nikai could also join us on this special occasion as it was he who brought the OECD and the ERIA together.
By renewing our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today we are taking our relationship to a higher level. Our collaboration with ERIA has been integral to the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme, a strategic Programme that Prime Minister Abe and I launched in 2014.
The collaboration between ERIA and the OECD is becoming more and more important. Thanks to this co-operation, in recent years we have delivered a number of concrete outputs in a broad range of policy areas to support Southeast Asian countries in their domestic priorities and regional integration efforts.
For example, the ASEAN SME Policy Index, a crucial tool which helps countries to build on a set of policies to maximise the full potential of their SMEs as drivers for job creation and economic growth. This project is already making impact on the ground.
The Philippine government developed its SME Strategy based on the findings of our joint OECD-ERIA SME Policy Index assessment of the country in 2014. Moreover, the government of Lao PDR revised its legal frameworks for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) supporting infrastructure development based on the ASEAN Principles for PPP Frameworks and the ASEAN PPP Guidelines; both of which were developed with the support of the OECD and the ERIA.
The OECD-ERIA co-operation has also produced studies and seminars in the areas of trade, global value chains, and disaster risk management. For example, in June 2016, we jointly held a symposium on Making GVCs work for ASEAN in Viet Nam to take stock of the current evidence related to the participation of ASEAN countries in GVCs.
Furthermore, our collaborative OECD-ERIA symposiums on disaster risk management in Indonesia have raised awareness for the Indonesian planning authorities to use disaster risk management considerations at the early stages of their infrastructure development planning. These tools are helping the region’s countries improve their policies to promote more inclusive and sustainable growth.
And now, with the renewal of this MoU, we will continue to broaden the areas of our joint work. We will soon be adding: good regulatory practice, sustainable infrastructure, development and agriculture, to the policy mix.
The next edition of the ASEAN SME Policy Index, which we are launching with the ERIA in 2018, will include the latest innovative thinking from our two institutions on issues like women’s entrepreneurship, inclusive business, green growth and the challenges posed by the digital economy.
It will also examine how policy-makers can best link these considerations to the growth of SMEs and the improvement of SME productivity. And we are also expanding joint activities such as training of government officials from Southeast Asian countries.
Last but not least our growing collaboration with individual countries will create further synergies and leverage our partnership with ERiA.
I am certain that this longstanding collaboration – with this renewed impetus – will produce many important fruits. As the late Japanese poetess Toyo Shibata – who began writing poetry at 92 – once said: “A flower bloomed from a century-old tree, and it’s all because of your support.”
Let’s keep working together for a more inclusive and sustainable global economy.