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Enlargement conundrum
Readers' Views No 300, Q3 2014

Former Ambassador Seiichiro Noboru urges the OECD to expand by including the BRIICS* ("Serving a new world" in OECD Observer No 298, Q1 2014). Only when these countries adopt OECD best practices can governments and firms enjoy a true level playing field. As the organisation helps aspiring members to adhere with OECD instruments, important reforms can be pushed forward.

Accession also strengthens the OECD through introducing new perspectives. But the impasse of the Doha round of trade negotiations highlights the risk of deadlock that can accompany enlargement. Does the conduct of the BRIICS within the World Trade Organization suggest they would co-operate within the OECD, which relies on consensus decisions that are enforced by peer review?

The Noboru report offers the right guidance: new members should be like-minded in terms of commitment to market economy and democratic politics and they should be significant players in the global economy. "Responsible player" is an additional criterion. Only governments that are willing to compromise for a rules-based international order should be offered a seat at the table of the leading think tank and standard-setting organisation.

The challenge will be to convince the governments of the BRIICS who meet these criteria, such as Brazil and Indonesia, that it is in their interest to join the OECD. The organisation has long ceased to be a "rich country club" in its own identity, and now this must change in the perceptions of the world.

—Christina Davis, Professor of Politics and International Affairs Princeton University

*BRIICS are Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa, and are OECD partner countries.


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©OECD Observer No 300, Q3 2014