People's Republic of China

China and the OECD at 20 and Beyond


Opening remarks by Angel Gurría

Secretary-General, OECD

Beijing, 19 March 2015

(As prepared for delivery)



Your Excellency Vice Premier Wang Yang, Minister Gao Hucheng, Minister Lou Jiwei, Ambassadors, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen:


It is an honour for me to be here with you to celebrate 20 years of co-operation between the People’s Republic of China and the OECD.


The OECD is proud to have China as a Key Partner. Over the past twenty years, we have forged a mutually beneficial partnership that is improving people’s lives across China and around the world. In 2015, we celebrate the strength of this partnership and we look to deepen our engagement even further in the years to come.




The role of the OECD in promoting a fair and open society

At the OECD, our motto is “better policies for better lives”. We draw on evidenced-based analysis to advise governments on policy design and implementation to improve the lives of our societies.


Our policies address issues that affect people throughout their lives: from day care centres, to how much people pay in taxes and social security, to the prices of goods and services; to determine if our school systems are providing young people with the skills for the modern labour market, to whether pension systems are robust enough to ensure the welfare of senior citizens.


We also look at governments – at all levels. How they are serving their citizens, how they are supporting business and protecting the environment, how efficient they are, how responsible they are in managing their budgets and finances.


We also look at companies and markets - how they are managed; whether they are discharging their corporate responsibility; if they are showing an appropriately responsible business conduct; and how financial markets are organised, their role and their impact. In all these areas and more, we are committed to a fair and open society. Whether we look at the public or private sector, the focus, however, is on a single, simple question: are policies improving the well-being of people? 



We work in areas of crucial importance for China

Over the last twenty years, we have produced three Economic Surveys of China, and the one I will be launching tomorrow will be number four! Our collaboration with China has spanned many policy areas, and the list is getting longer every year, so I will only highlight a few examples.


In agriculture, we have been working together to better monitor agricultural markets, to strengthen non-distorting policies for food security and improve the living standards of 630 million rural residents.


We have also partnered closely with China on education. Through China’s participation in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), China can proudly state that is has a remarkably cost-effective school system which has become a global reference.


Most recently we have been working together on how the 13th Five-Year Plan can shift the country towards a more inclusive and balanced growth path. Our report, All on Board: Making Inclusive Growth Happen in China identifies policies to deliver this goal: to give all citizens, whether they are farmers, migrants, non-migrant workers or businessmen and –women, the chance to lead a prosperous and fulfilling life.


There are many other areas where our partnership has delivered tangible results, such as our work on regional development and urban policies, environment, regulation, corporate governance, public administration, and taxes.



Global challenges call for coordinated global solutions

Our work with China has also extended to the international policy arena. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, governments frequently face similar challenges and can benefit from deeper interaction, sharing standards and policies. In this respect, China’s growing participation in OECD Committees, international standard-setting and analytical work has been essential, as well as its adherence to OECD instruments.  


At the height of the crisis, our partnership with China, and the decisions taken at the G20, were critical in stabilising the global economy and avoiding outright collapse of the international financial system.


China has been a major contributor to our work on international trade and investment. It has participated in our projects on Global Value Chains, Trade in Value Added and Service Trade Restrictiveness Index, helping us to “decode the trade genome”. It has undergone three investment policy reviews. And it is increasingly involved in our global initiative to promote responsible business conduct. 


China’s role, alongside other G20 and OECD countries, is also critical in the global fight against tax evasion and avoidance. China is supporting the development of a coherent set of international tax rules to end Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). We have also worked closely with China on the development of a new global standard for automatic exchange of information for tax purposes, which it has committed to implement by 2018.


The OECD collaboration with China extends to its role in other international policy fora. Last year, we worked closely with China during its successful Presidency of APEC. And we are now supporting China in preparing for its G20 Presidency in 2016.


This began yesterday through the launch of the OECD China Skills Development Programme, which will train around 40 Chinese officials in the arts of global policy dialogue.


Going forward, we should continue to work together to keep markets open and eliminate barriers to trade, investment and fair competition both at home and abroad. We also need to join forces to fight international bribery, tackle climate change and make the Sustainable Development Goals truly universal. We can further our work together on this and more when China joins the OECD Development Centre.




Your Excellency, Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen:


This 20th anniversary of a mutually beneficial co-operation also marks the opening of a new era of even closer collaboration between China and the OECD.


The deepening of our partnership will provide new impetus to the reforms needed so that China can achieve a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020 – this is the “Chinese Dream”. We stand ready to continue to help to achieve it.


Now for an “OECD Aspiration”: China’s membership of our Organisation. Today, China increasingly shares the core values of the OECD. Twenty years of co-operation have reinforced trust, mutual understanding and respect. This solid foundation makes it possible to strengthen and confirm our engagement in the future so that, hopefully sooner rather than later, China may become a full and active Member of the OECD.


With this goal in mind, we look forward to working together to design, develop and deliver better policies for better lives.


Thank you.