Israel completes first stage on road to OECD membership

"The progress we have made on the path to OECD membership is a sign of the trust in the resilience of Israel's economy."

Ronnie Bar On 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ronnie Bar On 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel has successfully completed the first stage of the accession procedure for becoming a full member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. "The progress we have made on the path to OECD membership is a sign of the trust in the resilience of Israel's economy, and emphasizes our obligation to continue to maintain a responsible economic policy, even at times of political uncertainty and a global economic slowdown," Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On said Tuesday. It represents proof of the advantage of Israel's stable economy to investors and economic market players around the world, he said. The road map, or accession, to OECD membership includes the examination of Israel's general economic policies as well as its policies in a certain number of other key areas in which there are few or no OECD legal instruments. The aim is to ensure that there is coherence between these policies and those in place in OECD member countries. In the first stage of this process, Israel submitted an initial memorandum to the secretary-general of the OECD in May. It outlines to which extent it accepts the legal or political obligations resulting from each of the substantive OECD acts and other relevant legal instruments, and assesses the compatibility of its legislation and policies with these obligations. Israel's final position vis-à-vis the OECD legal instruments (meaning the decisions, recommendations and declarations adopted within the framework of the organization) was submitted at the end of July. Following the submission, the OECD confirmed Israel's completion of the first stage of accession. In what follows, these legal instruments (more than 160) grouped by sector and Israel's position in each sector is examined by a committee. Proceeding to the next stage, next month discussions will be held by the specific committees on taxation, regulation, competition, financial markets, energy, labor, welfare and other issues to examine Israel's proposed position with respect to OECD instruments, standards and benchmarks, and on the adequacy of Israel's policies, taking into account its economic and social situation. Following the discussions, each committee provides the council with its formal opinion on Israel's ability and willingness to assume the obligations of membership in this field. Bar-On said he was confident Israel would be able to complete the ascension process by the end of 2009. In May 2007 the OECD Council of Ministers invited Israel to begin the accession process to join the organization. Israel will join four other countries - Russia, Estonia, Slovenia and Chile - in attempting to gain membership to the OECD, which today is made up of 30 of the most economically developed states.