The Obama administration should facilitate Russia’s membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD was founded in 1961 to offer a forum in which developed countries can compare economic and development policy, identify best practices, seek solutions to common problems, and coordinate international action. It has a membership of 30 countries primarily located in Europe, North America, and East Asia.
Membership in the OECD could serve as a strong stimulus for economic reform and the development of the rule of law in Russia. The accession process would embed internationally accepted norms and standards across a wide array of policy areas, such as corruption, competition, and fiscal policy. The legal requirements undertaken by members would make such changes difficult to reverse, and therefore accession also offers the prospect of a more stable investment climate. It is in the U.S. interest for Russia to become a ruleabiding member of the OECD.
Russia originally submitted its membership application in 1996, although formal talks did not begin until December 2007, when the OECD released a “roadmap” for Russia’s accession process. Moscow has stated that it will submit an initial memorandum that will form the basis for membership discussions in late June 2009. Top Russian policymakers, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have indicated that OECD membership is a priority. Although the OECD operates on consensus, the United States can take a leading role within the organization in facilitating Russia’s membership.
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