It is now official: starting in 2010, Chile will be a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).The decision, revealed in Paris yesterday by Finance Minister Andrés Velasco, signals the successful conclusion of a process that began in 2007 and required the fulfillment of a series of requirements.
These include adequate educational, agricultural, financial, fiscal, tax, labor and environmental policies, which were subjected to strict review by over 20 specialized committees whose mission was to evaluate compliance with the strict standards established by OECD member countries.
This assessment meant that the Chilean State had to implement certain legislative changes regarding the corporate governance regulations for private companies and Codelco, the exchange of tax information, and on the criminal responsibility of companies in the payment of bribes and asset laundering, among other measures.
Once these changes were made, the country was in a condition to join the so-called “club of rich countries.” “Being here is an acknowledgment of Chile. This is an association of democratic countries with the strongest institutions, the most transparent states, and the best instruments for fighting poverty and inequality. We receive this invitation with pride and humility,” Velasco said once the news was made public.
In addition to receiving international recognition for the country’s progress and achievements, Chile’s admission into the organization will provide benefits in diverse areas. The technology, environment and education sectors, to name a few, will receive significant stimulus from foreign capital, while at the same time new spaces for student exchange will be opened.
It is also to be expected that there be an increase in employment, as well as the in the double taxation agreements reached with countries like the United States, Australia, Italy, and Finland; improvements in public policy, and increased transparency in the public and private sectors.
While this marks the end of a cycle, another one now begins that is very complex and demanding. Becoming a member of the group of 30 countries who together represent 80% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will not just focus the world’s eyes on Chile, but it will mean increasingly taking on a series of challenges that are in keeping with the new category attained.
Thus, to put it in President Michelle Bachelet’s words, Chile has received a “seal of quality.” “(This is) thanks to the fact that the country has consolidated democracy, responsible economic management and sustained growth with tireless and growing concern for increased social equity and protection,” she affirmed.