Friends of the OECD Reception - welcoming remarks


Welcome Remarks by Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

Washington, US, 20 April 2017

(As prepared for delivery)



Dear Ambassadors and Friends:

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the OECD’s Washington Centre. We are here to celebrate the longstanding and fruitful relationship between the OECD and the United States. But, more precisely, we are here to celebrate you, our friends in the US! This is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and strengthen our ties.

I have come to the US for a few days, but with a very intense agenda that reflects the intensity of our collaboration with the US.

Last night in Minnesota, I had the honour of receiving the 2017 Bill Frenzel Champion of Free Trade Award with my good friend, Bob Zoellick. In Washington, I will be attending the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting and the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings. I will also be talking with USCIB members and CSIS stakeholders, launching the 2017 OECD Scoreboard on Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs, and co-chairing the second meeting of the OECD-UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders Governing Board. And on Monday, I will speak at a special event on water hosted by the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.

The US is one of the OECD’s most important members. From the early days of the Marshall Plan ─ which we will be celebrating on 5 June at the OECD in Paris ─ to the OECD of today, the US has played an increasingly important role as an advocate and catalyst for international co operation and the sharing of best practices. In recent years, we’ve been working closely in other multilateral and regional fora, including the G20, G7 and APEC, to increase our relevance and impact. And this work is, in turn, helping to bring major emerging economies like China closer to OECD standards.

The US is closely involved in all of the bodies that decide what the OECD does and how it should do it. In November 2015, Mr. Doug Frantz joined the OECD as a Deputy Secretary-General from the State Department. Currently, around 10% of our staff are from the US, including two of our brightest minds ─ our Chief Economist, Ms. Catherine Mann, and the head of our Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Andrew Wyckoff. Washington also hosts one of our four overseas centres.

Together, we have launched and promoted remarkable OECD initiatives that are helping to improve the global economy and create more inclusive globalisation, like the BEPS Project, the Gender Initiative, the Friends of Inclusive Growth Initiative and the Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, as well as the Dialogue on Inclusive Business, to name but a few.

Our partnership has also allowed us to make significant contributions to help improve the economic performance of the US.

  • The OECD’s Export Credit Agreement saves American taxpayers more than $800 million per year.

  • Our work to combat international tax evasion and promote transparency ─ including the OECD-G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project (BEPS) ─ is delivering results. Almost USD 10 billion in unplanned, additional revenue has been collected in the US from voluntary disclosure and similar initiatives in advance of the first exchanges under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard. This is more than 150 times the US contribution to the OECD’s budget!

  • The OECD Codes of Liberalisation of Capital Movements have opened markets for US companies, from financial services to films.

  • Our Anti-Bribery Convention is helping to make the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act the gold standard around the world.

  • We are working to eliminate unfair competition that hurts US companies abroad, including through the OECD-G20 Principles of Corporate Governance and our complementary standards on investment, state-owned enterprises and responsible business conduct.

  • By helping measure the returns on education investments through our Programme for International Student Assessment, the OECD is helping the US to prioritise the allocation of its USD 600 billion annual expenditure on public K-12 education.

  • We have been asked by the G20 to facilitate the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, which will be of particular benefit to the US as the world’s fourth largest steel producer.

  • And we are also a key resource for American policymakers! Since 2003, our data has been cited by the Congressional Research Service more than 1,500 times. 

We are confident that we will keep working together to continue improving the global economy, to improve the outcomes of globalisation and make it work for all.

Our work with the US goes well beyond government. We are active with legislators, policymakers, the business community, trade unions, academia, think tanks, foundations… and the list goes on! This is precisely why this ‘group of friends’ remains of paramount importance to the US-OECD relationship.

I therefore urge you to keep our spirit of co-operation strong and to keep promoting better policies for better lives in the US and around the globe.

Thank you.



See also

OECD work with the United States


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