OECD Secretary-General

Conference of Paris: “Reshaping Globalization, Mastering Change”


Remarques d'ouverture par Angel Gurría

Secrétaire général de l'OCDE

Le 2 octobre 2018 - Paris, France

(As prepared for delivery) 



Madame la Maire, Mesdames et Messieurs, Cher Gérard, Cher Nicholas,

L’OCDE est ravie d’accueillir, pour la deuxième année consécutive, la Conférence de Paris et d’approfondir notre dialogue avec le Forum économique international des Amériques.


Une année s’est écoulée depuis notre précédente rencontre, et les défis et complexités auxquels nous sommes confrontés ne cessent de croître. Ce qui n’était encore que menace l’an dernier s’est aujourd’hui transformé en une incertitude politique accrue et une escalade dans la confrontation commerciale. Les effets commencent déjà à s’en faire sentir. Nous venons de présenter les dernières Perspectives économiques intermédiaires de l’OCDE, qui indiquent que la hausse du commerce mondial, en volume, est revenue aux alentours de 3 % au premier semestre de 2018, alors qu’elle ressortait à 5 % en 2017. Et que la croissance du PIB mondial devrait s’établir à 3.7 % cette année, de même qu’en 2019, soit environ un quart de point de pourcentage de moins que les prévisions antérieures.


The OECD has long been advocating for more open markets. Here’s just one reason why: for example, if we were to increase tariffs on even as little as 7% of global trade, we would reduce that trade by 1.5%. But on the other hand: implementing even small tariff reductions would lead to an increase in global trade of twice that amount. We estimate that each dollar of new tariffs costs global households 40 cents, while each dollar of tariff reduction adds 90 cents to global household incomes.


The causes of current protectionist trends are complex but they are certainly linked to failures of the global economic system to promote inclusive growth and help effectively those displaced by globalisation and technological change. The greatest benefits of economic growth have not trickled down. Recent studies have found that the world’s richest 1% now accumulate around 50% of the world’s wealth; and more than 60% of the world’s employed work informally. In the OECD the income gap between the top and the bottom deciles keeps growing, it is now almost 10 times, up from 7 times in the 1980s.


As Mayor Hidalgo knows well, some of the largest disparities are witnessed in cities: from income to health to housing. In London and Baltimore, for example, life expectancy can vary by up to 20 years across neighbourhoods!


The advance of digital technologies is bringing opportunities to address inequalities, but also new anxieties. Digitalisation is creating jobs, but there will also be social costs and potential divides. Our most recent estimates are that around 14% of jobs in OECD countries are at high risk of automation, and a further 32% of jobs could face substantial disruption with the low-skilled most at risk. It is important to note that the geographic variation in job automation risk is strikingly high in the 21 countries for which data is available. The share of jobs at high risk is as low as 4% around Oslo, but nears 40% in some regions like West Slovakia.


We cannot continue to leave so many people behind. Closing economies will only make the most vulnerable worse off. And global challenges can only be solved by international co-operation. This is why at our Ministerial Council Meetings and OECD Fora, the OECD has thrown its efforts into creating a more solidaire and people-centric globalisation and a more effective and agile multilateralism, underpinned by inclusive and sustainable growth.


Inspired by our New Approaches to Economic Challenges Initiative (NAEC), the OECD developed its Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth, which provides 24 indicators to empower the people and places that have been left behind. At the city level, Mayor Hidalgo has been one of the leading lights of our coalition of Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, empowering Mayors from over 50 cities to promote inclusiveness in areas like education, housing and public services. To address emerging challenges, the OECD’s Going Digital project is building a comprehensive approach to harness the benefits of digitalisation for inclusive growth. 


Governments and international organisations have a critical role to play in building a better capitalism and a more inclusive, sustainable globalisation. This should be done by designing, developing and delivering more effective social safety nets; by creating the opportunities to promote social mobility; by empowering our citizens through education, skills and civic participation; by working to level the international playing field through well-governed markets and the promotion of smart regulation, fair competition and integrity. This is why the OECD is leading global policy efforts to address market-distorting practices, overhaul the international taxation architecture and tackle corruption.


But the reshaping of globalisation will not be possible without the commitment, vision and dynamism of the private sector. Companies that focus on the well-being of their workers, that invest in their skills, that improve the quality of their jobs, that pay decent wages, that treat men and women equally, that help integrate migrants and promote environmental protection. Such companies are essential to build a brighter future. But let’s ask some critical questions. Is this the business culture that the top business schools and MBAs are promoting? Is this the business culture that governments are incentivising? Is this the business culture that business associations and banks are fuelling?


The OECD has a long history of promoting integrity in the private sector. The OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, signed in 1997, was the first and is still the only international anti-corruption instrument focused on the ‘supply side’ of bribery. Our MNE Guidelines, over 40 years old, remain the most comprehensive government-backed recommendations on responsible business conduct. The updated OECD Principles on Corporate Governance and the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises continue to provide a globally recognised benchmark. We need to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules!


In this effort, working with our Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), we are bringing new tools and platforms. In May, the OECD launched its Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct to help companies avoid and address any adverse impacts related to workers, human rights, the environment, bribery and corporate governance in their operations or supply chains. We are developing a Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG) platform, which will become the first comprehensive programme of action linking business practices and government policies on inclusive growth within advanced economies.


We are working with the ILO to host, here in the OECD, a joint secretariat for the Global Deal initiative, which aims to enhance social dialogue to enable all people to benefit from globalisation and quality jobs.


The OECD is also gathering international stakeholders on the emerging technologies shaping the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow. For example, the Blockchain Policy Forum held at the OECD last month was the first major international conference to take stock of this technology’s potential impacts for policymaking.


Madame la Maire, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Nous ne pourrons réussir à surmonter ces défis mondiaux complexes et transnationaux que si nous sommes capables d’unir nos forces, de coopérer et de coordonner notre action. Le Président Macron était à l’OCDE pour ouvrir la Réunion du Conseil au niveau des Ministres. Il y a délivré ce message fort : « Le multilatéralisme […], c’est un dialogue à plusieurs voix, une polyphonie de l’action, de la pensée qu’il nous faut toujours réinventer, apprendre à tisser, à rendre juste et efficace dans le monde qui est le nôtre. » Dans cette « polyphonie », la voix du monde des affaires doit être entendue. 


Ces propos touchent au cœur de l’objectif de ce Forum. Vous allez examiner des questions cruciales pour la refondation de la mondialisation et la maîtrise du changement : le commerce, la fiscalité, l’urbanisation, l’innovation et l’énergie. Vos échanges contribueront à nourrir notre réflexion sur de nouvelles formes de capitalisme permettant de faire face à l’incertitude et de préparer l’avenir.


Nous sommes confrontés à des défis colossaux, mais c’est aussi un moment riche d’opportunités : opportunité de bâtir des systèmes plus inclusifs et durables, opportunité de retrouver la confiance de nos citoyens, opportunité d’opérer une refonte de la mondialisation et de la mettre au service du plus grand nombre.


Dans cet effort, je vous invite à être audacieux, optimistes et stimulants. Merci.




See also:

OECD work on Economy


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