Israel set to be accepted into OECD

Membership will acknowledge highly developed economy.

May 10, 2010 06:00
2 minute read.

NOECD generic 311. (photo credit: NCourtesy)

Israel is expected to get the go-ahead to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development at a meeting of representatives of the 31 member countries in Paris on Monday.

“On the technical basis, the process of accession is completed. Now the final decision has to be taken by the member states,” Nicholas Bray, head of media at the public affairs and communications directorate of the OECD, told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview on Sunday.

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“The member representatives need to come to a consensus, which needs to be agreed upon unanimously,” he said.

At the OECD meeting on Monday afternoon, the representatives will be presented with an update on the status of membership bids, and will be asked to reach a consensus on the entry of Israel, Estonia and Slovenia, which have all successfully concluded the technical part of the accession process.

The official announcement of accession will be announced at the OECD’s annual ministerial council meeting in Paris on May 26-May 28.

In May 2007, Israel and four other countries were invited to begin talks on joining the club of the world’s most developed economies. Chile was the first country to be accepted as member of the OECD, under an accession agreement signed this past January, while Russia is still in negotiations.

Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said on Sunday that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is trying to block Israel’s entry.

The PA sent a letter to OECD nations asking them to postpone Israel’s membership bid.

Accepting Israel “would be like accepting its occupation of the Palestinian territories,” read the letter, which was posted on the PA Foreign Ministry Web site.

Ben-Eliezer criticized Fayyad’s attempts to block Israel and said the letter came at a time when “Israel wants to open indirect talks to reach an agreement and conciliation between our nations.”

A spokesman for Fayyad was not immediately available for comment.

In an interview with the Post last month, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that all necessary requirements and processes for joining the OECD were completed at the beginning of the year, and that membership acceptance was now a formality.

During a visit to Israel in January, OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria expressed confidence that Israel would be accepted into the OECD as planned, despite a number of unresolved issues.

As part of the process of OECD accession, Israel has had to comply with the norms and standards upheld by the 31 OECD member countries in the fields of financial markets, anti-corruption legislation, technology and innovation, and investment.

In the final stage over the past few months, the organization has come to agreements with Israel on ways to tackle three critical issues: anti-corruption policy measures, in particular in the defense industry; compliance with intellectual property legislation common in OECD member countries; and the exclusion of statistics relating to territories that are not considered part of the country.

Membership in the OECD, which includes the major players in the global economy, will enhance Israel’s ability to conduct an ongoing dialogue with representatives of these economies; force an upgrade in Israel’s public administration; improve Israel’s corporate management, and reduce Israel’s risk premium and help attract investment.

Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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