Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile, greets Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD Alex Ibanez/OECD

Chile’s accession to the OECD

Chile is set to become the OECD’s 31st member country. It is a momentous occasion, as captured in the following extracts from speeches by President Michelle Bachelet of Chile and by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, following the signing of the agreement on the terms of accession by the Republic of Chile to the OECD Convention, delivered in Santiago, Chile, 11 January 2010.

President Bachelet: The “legitimate and genuine happiness” of which I speak is also matched by a sense of satisfaction and pride because this [Accession] Agreement, although simply the first step on a path of collaboration between Chile and OECD member countries, is also a ringing endorsement of all the progress we have made as a country during these years of freedom and democracy for all Chilean people. What has happened over the last 20 years is historic. Chile has shaken off underdevelopment and is well on the way to achieving developed nation status in a few years’ time. But joining the OECD is much more than recognition.

In particular, as Angel Gurría noted, it is the first step on a new journey into the future which will open up major new opportunities to move more quickly towards that long-desired development. Membership of the OECD will help Chile make a qualitative leap forward in terms of public policies and state modernisation. As an OECD member, Chile will work with the world’s most advanced economies in seeking solutions to our key economic, social, environmental and other challenges–challenges that are quintessentially global.[…]

My friends, accession to the OECD does not mean that Chile ceases to be what it is: a Latin American country, a democratic country, and a progressive country. Chile will bring to the OECD a vision of a southern country; a middle-income country, with particular experience of economic and social progress, in a framework of democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Nonetheless, I believe that by joining the organisation we will be sending a signal to the world that Latin America has countries such as Mexico, Chile and several others that are moving steadfastly towards societies that are not only more democratic but also more developed and more inclusive. This progress by emerging Latin American countries will be one of the positive developments of the first few decades of the 21st century.[…]

I would like to conclude my remarks by calling on all children of this land, our fatherland, to learn to value what we have built. Because Chile today is not what it was 20 years ago, when joining this forum would have been unthinkable. And because we have achieved this together, in freedom and democracy.[…]

Secretary-General Gurría: Chile’s accession to the OECD occurs at a time when international co-operation is becoming ever more important.[…]

The “Chilean way” and its expertise will enrich the OECD on key policy issues. Chile has been embarked on a continuous effort to reform its economy. Over nearly two decades it has developed a strong set of democratic institutions, and it has succeeded in combining robust economic growth with improved social welfare. This experience will be an asset for the OECD as we try to address common issues such as inequality or the coverage and viability of pension systems.[…]

The OECD accession process is in itself a catalyst for reform. Over the past two years, Chile has made a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of its economic, social and environmental policies, practices and institutions, and has taken significant steps in a number of areas.[…]

Now is the time to write a new chapter on global economic governance and international co-operation. It is time to build a stronger, cleaner and fairer world economy. It is time to identify and promote new sources of growth, pursue new ideas for innovation, develop a new agenda for jobs, take steps to reduce inequalities and promote new green-growth strategies. The OECD is honoured to embark on this new endeavour with Chile as a new partner and member country. […]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams”. Chile is a young country and the OECD is a young organisation: let’s pursue our dreams together![…]

The full speeches are available at www.oecd.org/speeches.

See also www.oecd.org/chile

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