The annual OECD summit

OECD Observer
Page 81 

OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, Paris, 26-27 May 1999 

For the first time ever, seven non-member countries -- Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and the Slovak Republic -- were invited to the OECD Council Meeting at Ministerial Level, held last 26 and 27 May at the Château de la Muette in Paris.

This initiative showed the growing importance of the emerging and developing countries in the world economy and, above all, their interdependence with the OECD countries."The 29 member countries and the seven invited countries account for no less than 68% of the world population and 90% of world GDP" the chairman pointed out, adding that the "time when the OECD countries could manage the world economy is a thing of the past… we are now all in the same boat".

The non-member countries for their part seemed quite satisfied with the proceedings. The Indian minister for external affairs, Jaswant Singh, said in an interview with the Observer that many, if not all, of the core areas of interest at the OECD, whether it be corporate governance or e-commerce, were naturally of great relevance to economies such as India and therefore it made perfect sense to hold the dialogue. It should of course be emphasised that the OECD's co-operation with non-member countries is not exactly a recent development. What was new was the presence of non-members at the council itself. In the late 1980s the OECD had initiated a policy dialogue with a number of major players in the world economy, particularly in Asia and Latin America. And after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the OECD launched a programme for the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe. Then, in 1991, it initiated a co-operation programme with the Newly Independent States, and in particular with the Russian Federation. This ongoing dialogue is today managed by the OECD's Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members, which was created in January 1998.

It was in the discussions on the next round of multilateral trade negotiations at the WTO that the invited countries participated most actively. Although all the governments represented broadly supported the future "millennium round", and agreed that this time it should not be allowed to drag out too long, there is still some disagreement about the topics to be discussed.

Some European countries wish to include issues such as investment, competition, the environment and social standards, while the emerging countries want to limit discussions to agriculture and services. Argentina and Brazil were highly critical of a number of OECD countries that oppose imports of agricultural products. Fears of renewed protectionism were also mentioned during the review of the economic prospects of OECD countries, since the imbalances caused by the growth differentials between the United States, Europe and Japan could lead these countries to rely increasingly on trade restrictions.

Janet Yellen, chief economist at the White House, said that "the blood pressure of the US economy is excellent", though the OECD experts encouraged the United States authorities to "maintain sound policies and remain vigilant for signs of overheating". Ms Yellen called on Japan and Europe to take measures to accelerate growth in order to prevent a further deterioration of the US current account. The OECD is forecasting a record US balance of payments deficit of US$ 300 billion this year and US$ 320 billion in the year 2000.

Japan was asked to step up the reforms in the banking sector in order to stimulate demand-led economic growth, while Europe has to maintain "an appropriate mix of macroeconomic policies and vigorous structural measures". Trade union representatives at the council meeting expressed fears that "the global economy would be plunged into deep depression" if "the US locomotive were to stall". The OECD experts considered that on the whole growth in the OECD area and throughout the world remained insufficient. And although confidence and financial stability have improved in a number of emerging economies, "the situation continues to require attention".

©OECD Observer No 217/218, Summer 1999 




Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q2 2018 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.9% Sept 2018 annual
Trade: +2.7% exp, +3.0% imp, Q4 2017
Unemployment: 5.2% Sept 2018
Last update: 13 Nov 2018

E-Newsletter

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 paper editions delivered to you directly


Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Globalisation will continue and get stronger, and how to harness it is the great challenge, says OECD Secretary-General Gurría on Bloomberg TV. Watch the interview here.
  • OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría with UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly, in New York City.
  • The new OECD Observer Crossword, with Myles Mellor. Try it online!
  • Watch the webcast of the final press conference of the OECD annual ministerial meeting 2018.
  • Listen to the "Robots are coming for our jobs" episode of The Guardian's "Chips with Everything podcast", in which The Guardian’s economics editor, Larry Elliott, and Jeremy Wyatt, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham, and Jordan Erica Webber, freelance journalist, discuss the findings of the new OECD report "Automation, skills use and training". Listen here.
  • Do we really know the difference between right and wrong? Alison Taylor of BSR and Susan Hawley of Corruption Watch tell us why it matters to play by the rules. Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview here.
  • Has public decision-making been hijacked by a privileged few? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Stav Shaffir, MK (Zionist Union) Chair of the Knesset Committee on Transparency here.
  • Can a nudge help us make more ethical decisions? Watch the recording of our Facebook live interview with Saugatto Datta, managing director at ideas42 here.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • 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.
  • 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 www.oecd.org/careers .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

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 2018