China question

Readers' views No 254, March 2006
OECD Observer

Secretary-General Donald Johnston understandably raises the question of the OECD’s future relationship with China (No 251, September 2005). But as well as focusing on China itself, both in your edition and in your organisation’s impressive work on the country, what about China’s presence in the global economy generally?

Apart from investing in OECD countries, as one of the world’s largest energy consumers, China is active in the Middle East and Latin America. In Africa, it has major interests in oil and other extractive industries, notably in Sudan and lately Angola, where its influence as a trading force, investor and aid donor seems to be growing. How China’s economic influence will evolve globally is a key question.

Joseph Deng
Paris, France

Ángel Gurría of Mexico is soon to succeed Canada’s Donald Johnston as head of the OECD (No. 252/253, November 2005). It’s the first time that a man from a not-so-rich if not-too-poor country will head an organisation frequently described as the “rich man’s club”. Mr Gurría’s appointment is a tribute to his strong international reputation and the OECD’s desire to change with the times. Mr Gurría says of his own admission that a grouping which once represented threequarters of the world’s wealth is now worth about 60%.

Put simply, non-OECD countries such as China, India and Brazil are taking the world by storm, posing an inevitable question that still seems to cause more serious discomfort than debate–can the OECD and other international economic organisations remain legitimate representatives of a global economy that no longer owes its growth to a privileged few?

By its own account, China is now probably the world’s fourth biggest economy. It is only a matter of decades before India has more people than the most populous country in the world. Brazil is fast becoming the world’s food wholesaler.

None of these countries is in the OECD. What’s the difference between them? China is still ruled by the Communist Party. Which begs question: Will the OECD’s members extend a hand in the belief that it is better to have China within than without? After all, some countries have joined the OECD in the past without fully meeting the OECD requirements associated with market economies–that procedure was seen by many as the way to ensure that those requirements were one day met.

Another difficult question would have to be asked. Does China want the OECD?

Brian Love
European Economics Correspondent, Reuters

©OECD Observer No 254, March 2006

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive print editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • “Nizip” refugee camp visit
    July 2016: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría visits the “Nizip” refugee camp, situated between Gaziantep and the Turkish-Syrian border, accompanied by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek. The camp accommodates a small number of the 2.75 million Syrians currently registered in Turkey, mostly outside the camps. In his tour of the camp, Mr Gurría visits a school, speaks with refugees and gives a short interview.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • Queen Maxima of the Netherlands gives a speech next to Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto (not pictured) during the International Forum of Financial Inclusion at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 21, 2016.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • OECD Environment Director Simon Upton presented a talk at Imperial College London on 21 April 2016. With the world awash in surplus oil and prices languishing around US$40 per barrel, how can governments step up efforts to transform the world’s energy systems in line with the Paris Agreement?
  • Happy 10th birthday to Twitter. This 2008 OECD Observer interview with Henry Copeland said you’d do well.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Once migrants reach Europe, countries face integration challenge: OECD's Thomas Liebig speaks to NPR's Audie Cornish.

  • Message from the International Space Station to COP21

  • The carbon clock is ticking: OECD’s Gurría on CNBC

  • If we want to reach zero net emissions by the end of the century, we must align our policies for a low-carbon economy, put a price on carbon everywhere, spend less subsidising fossil fuels and invest more in clean energy. OECD at #COP21 – OECD statement for #COP21
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Pole to Paris Project
  • In order to face global warming, Asia needs at least $40 billion per year, derived from both the public and private sector. Read how to bridge the climate financing gap on the Asian Bank of Development's website.
  • How can cities fight climate change?
    Discover projects in Denmark, Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico.
  • Climate: What's changed, what hasn't, what we can do about it.
    Lecture by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, hosted by the London School of Economics and Aviva Investors in association with ClimateWise, London, UK, 3 July 2015.
  • Is technological progress slowing down? Is it speeding up? At the OECD, we believe the research from our Future of ‪Productivity‬ project helps to resolve this paradox.
  • Is inequality bad for growth? That redistribution boosts economies is not established by the evidence says FT economics editor Chris Giles. Read more on
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .

Most Popular Articles


What issue are you most concerned about in 2016?

Euro crisis
International conflict
Global warming

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2016