The OECD’s membership has grown from 24 Members in 1993 to 35 in 2016 and would reach 38, upon completion of the current active accession discussions. However, in addition to full membership, the OECD continues to expand the involvement of non-Members in the Organisation’s committees, legal instruments, Global Fora and other meetings, and it has expanded relations with selected countries and regions of strategic interest using a variety of engagement tools.
The 2014 Ministerial Council Meeting reinforced Members’ commitment to advancing the OECD’s relationship with five Key Partners: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. Key Partner outreach promotes market- and rules-based policies in major emerging economies. By expanding the OECD’s global reach, its policy impact raises growth and increases the openness needed to generate U.S. exports and U.S. jobs.
In addition to the Key Partners, the OECD engages with regions of strategic importance through five Regional Programs: the Latin American Regional Program (LAC), the Southeast Asia Regional Program (SEARP), the Eurasia Competitiveness Program (ECP), the Middle East and North Africa Program (MENA), and the Southeast Europe Regional Program (SEE). These Regional Programs develop mutually beneficial partnerships that focus on possible adherence to OECD standards and participation in OECD bodies.
Finally, the OECD has recently launched a small number of Country Programs “designed to help a very limited number of countries to adopt OECD standards and practices and thus provide an anchor for their policy reforms.” Joint Work Programs for the first three Country Programs, with Kazakhstan, Morocco and Peru, were launched in 2015 for two-year durations.
A central element of the OECD’s outreach and partnerships is the promotion of direct and active participation of partner countries in the work of substantive bodies of the Organization. Each country participates in OECD work through a program containing a mix of several elements, notably:
- participation in OECD committees;
- adherence to OECD instruments;
- integration into OECD statistical reporting and information systems;
- sector-specific peer reviews.
The actual mix and the sequencing of the elements is determined by mutual interest.
At present, the OECD is currently working closely with over 70 other non-member economies at various levels and in areas ranging from exchange of tax information to educational assessments. OECD free-market principles and internationally recognized benchmarking and peer review support good economic governance in these countries and help to increase prosperity, investment and trade in goods and services – all of which benefit the United States.