The OECD's work on corporate governance focuses on developing principles to help guide corporations and governments develop a culture of values for professional and ethical behavior on which well functioning markets depend. As a result of good corporate governance, the cost of capital is lower and firms are encouraged to use resources more efficiently, thereby supporting investment, economic and employment growth in the United States and in our trading partner countries.
The OECD's "Principles of Corporate Governance" are an internationally recognized benchmark for good corporate governance. The principles assist in the evaluation and improvement of the legal, institutional and regulatory framework that influences corporate governance. Since they were first issued in 1999, they have been used by governments, regulators, investors, corporations and stakeholders in both OECD and non-OECD countries and have been adopted by the Financial Stability Forum as one of the Twelve Key Standards for Sound Financial Systems.
The Principles include globally-recognized benchmarks and a methodology for their application on corporate governance topics including:
- the rights of shareholders;
- the equitable treatment of shareholders;
- the role of stakeholders;
- disclosure and transparency; and
- the responsibilities of the board
The principles were revised in April 2004 and are currently being updated.
Additional work under the OECD Corporate Governance Committee has developed guidelines and best practices relating to government ownership and control of enterprises. The U.S. is working to achieve competitive neutrality with state-owned enterprises to ensure countries that choose an SOE growth model for development do not do so at the expense of the U.S. economy.