OECD Observer
Colombia, Latvia start accession process

On 19 September the OECD set out a clear path for Colombia’s accession to the organisation, reinforcing its commitment to further extend its global membership to include more emerging economies. On 16 October the OECD issued an accession roadmap for Latvia too.

The roadmaps establish the process and sets out the terms for Colombia’s and Latvia’s future membership. It follows the political decision taken at the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris in May 2013.

In issuing the roadmap, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said that launching talks with Colombia and Latvia underlined the organisation’s commitment to broaden its reach and its position as a global standard setter. “Our joint objective is to work together to bring [these countries’] policies closer to OECD best practices.”

He pointed out that the process, through which standards and best practices are adopted to improve the lives of citizens, is “as important as membership itself.”Colombian and Latvian officials will now begin to engage with OECD committees whose experts drawn from member countries underpin the work of the organisation in a range of policy areas: investment, bribery in international business transactions, corporate governance, financial markets, insurance & private pensions, competition, tax, environment, chemicals, public governance, regulatory policy, territorial development, statistics, economics, education, employment, labour & social affairs, health, trade, export credits, agriculture, fisheries, science & technology, IT & communications, and consumer policy.

As a first step in the process the accession countries will submit an “initial memorandum” setting out their position on 250 OECD legal instruments (see www.oecd.org/acts). This will in turn lead to a series of technical reviews by OECD experts, who will collect further information through questionnaires and fact-finding missions.

The OECD will then evaluate Colombia’s and Latvia’s implementation of the organisation’s policies, practices and legal instruments, and may make recommendations for adjustments to legislation, policy or practice.

Once the committees give their green light, a final decision must be taken by all OECD member countries in the governing council. The decision will be based on consensus.

There is no deadline for completion, with the process depending on the candidates’ capacity to adapt and adjust to meet the organisation’s standards, the OECD secretary-general said.

Colombia and Latvia would be among the first new members since Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia joined in 2010. Accession talks with the Russian Federation are on-going. Visit www.oecd.org

©OECD Observer No 296, Q3 2013