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Weekly Trade Spotlight: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

This week, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will travel to Paris, France for a meeting of trade ministers responsible for the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. This meeting, at the Australian Embassy in Paris, traditionally takes place on the margins of the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Conference Meeting (MCM), which is scheduled for May 27-28, 2010.   

Ambassador Miriam Sapiro will attend the OECD MCM for USTR this year. The annual OECD MCM’s Trade Session will provide an opportunity for Trade Ministers to examine avenues that they can take, individually and together, in order to open markets further and thereby support the global economic recovery. For the United States, the MCM will provide an opportunity to emphasize the necessity of achieving an ambitious and balanced outcome in the Doha Round that opens key markets and generates new trade flows. Such new trade flows, particularly into the fastest growing economies in the world, are needed to generate economic growth, development and employment.   

The OECD was established in 1961 and its member countries account for 72 percent of world gross national income (GNI), 60 percent of world trade, and 95 percent of world official development assistance. The OECD will welcome four new members, Chile, Estonia, Israel and Slovenia, at this year’s MCM, bringing its total membership to 34 democracies in Europe, the Americas and the Pacific Rim.   

The OECD is a policy forum covering a broad spectrum of economic, social, and scientific issues. Its Members share common core values, which include a commitment to democratic values and institutions, the rule of law, and an open, competitive market economy. The “like-mindedness” of its Members makes the OECD a valuable policy forum for addressing the opportunities and challenges of the global economy and multilateral trading system, and as an OECD member, the United States is able to work with member countries to promote trade liberalization, free markets, economic growth and development.   

As the global forum for new ideas and prosperity, the OECD allows for member countries to work together to build a better global economy. The United States works with all member countries to break down trade barriers and enforce global trading rights. This especially benefits American businesses and workers by allowing for opportunity of an increase in U.S. exports to the varying member countries.   

The OECD Trade Committee in particular serves as an important discussion forum for like-minded economies to debate and formulate trade policies and negotiating positions. The Committee’s peer-reviewed analytical work has positively demonstrated linkages between trade liberalization and sustained economic growth. Its publications and policy briefs also serve as an important resource for furthering public understanding of the role of open markets, the rule of law and how trade liberalization affects their day to day lives. Additional information on the OECD Trade Committee, including its publications, can be found at   

U.S. goods exports to OECD countries accounted for 64 percent of total U.S. goods exports to the world in 2009. U.S. goods imports from OECD countries accounted for 55 percent of total U.S. goods imports to the world in 2009.