In a decision that is the fruit of a complicated and comprehensive working process over several years, the OECD Ministerial Council approved a decision to open accession discussions with Israel.

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris today (Wednesday), 16 May 2007, approved a decision to open accession discussions with Israel. 

This decision is the fruit of a complicated and comprehensive working process that was carried out over several years by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Bank of Israel and the Finance, Foreign, Justice and Industry, Trade and Employment ministries. 

The decision attests to respect for the Israeli economy and constitutes international recognition of the State of Israel’s achievements as a democratic and developing country, and of its ability to contribute both to the global economy and to the organization. The decision to invite Israel to begin the process of joining the OECD is an important diplomatic achievement.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who accelerated the aforesaid process during his tenure as Industry, Trade and Employment Minister, praised the decision: "This is a step that expresses confidence in the Israeli economy, in its strength and in its ability to develop. The great jump that the Israeli economy has made in recent years will receive significant encouragement. There is no doubt that the country will be able to enjoy additional investments from all over the world. 

My government, which has set as a goal the improvement of residents’ quality of life and the reduction of gaps through increased growth, can now be proud that the process of entering the OECD has begun and that we are on the road to additional growth. I will see to it that all relevant government ministries and bodies will make every effort so that the timetable for entering the OECD is as short as possible."

The membership process is expected to take one to one-and-a-half years. It will be necessary to pass legislation, enact reforms and meet the organization’s standards. After the membership process is completed, Israel will be able to benefit from assistance in encouraging investments, the upgrading of the economy’s credit rating, improvements in competitiveness, etc.