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Friday, August 3, 2012

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

James K. Jackson
Specialist in International Trade and Finance

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2011, a time when the global economy continues to struggle to recover from a financial crisis and slow economic growth. The OECD is an intergovernmental economic organization in which the 34 member countries discuss and develop key policy recommendations that often serve as the basis for international standards and practices. In addition, the OECD members analyze economic and social policy and share expertise and exchanges with more than 70 developing and emerging economies. The member countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. While all of the member countries are considered to be economically advanced and collectively produce three-fourths of the world’s goods and services, membership is limited only by a country’s commitment to a market economy and a pluralistic democracy. The OECD also has extended an invitation to Russia to open discussions for membership, including meeting rigorous best practices relative to anti-bribery and anti-corruption standards. Furthermore, the OECD works with other potential partners has offered enhanced engagement with a view to possible membership to Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Africa.

The member countries rely on the OECD Secretariat in Paris to collect data, monitor trends, analyze and forecast economic developments, research social changes and patterns in trade, environment, agriculture, society, innovation, corporate and public governance, taxation, sustainable development, and other areas to inform their discussions and to assist them in pursuing their efforts to develop common policies and practices. Following the financial crisis, the OECD played a major role in providing cross-country analyses of market reforms and programs to stimulate growth. The U.S. has sparred periodically with other OECD member countries over various issues, including U.S. antidumping laws and the size of the U.S. financial contribution. Karen Kornbluh was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD. Key issues for Congress include OECD work on coordinating national approaches to curtailing bribery and the illicit use of tax havens. Congress appropriated about $83.8 million to the OECD in FY2012; the budget request for FY2013 is $85.1 million.

Date of Report: July 27, 2012
Number of Pages: 15
Order Number: RS21128
Price: $29.95

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