MOSCOW. Feb 15 (Interfax) - Russia will be making efforts to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by 2015, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said during a press conference in the context of the financial G20 meeting on Friday.
"Each step will move us towards full membership," Siluanov said. "Joining the OECD is a new standard, it is additional access to capital, it is better standards for business. We are interested in this. If it works out that this can be done in 2014 or 2015 without any kind of serious changes for our laws, we will be doing it," he said.
The process of joining the organization is similar to the process of joining the World Trade Organization, when Russia had already several years before accession met a number of its requirements. Russia has already fulfilled several OECD conventions, Siluanov said.
OECD General Secretary Angel Gurria pointed out that the process for Russia joining the OECD will not take seventeen years. In his view, he said, 2015 is a pretty realistic date.
Gurria said his organization is already working with Russia as if the country were a full-fledged member.
Russia's accession to the OECD primarily means a win for the organization itself, Gurria said. The benefit will not be for Russia, but for the OECD, he said. The organization needs Russia in order to be a global organization, he said. The OECD is not negotiating with anyone and no-one will lose anything, he said. The organization has created an interesting formula - everyone wins from joining, he said. In the opposite case, that is simply an improvement of opportunity, he said.
Gurria added that he had just recently met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his view, he said, understanding was achieved during that meeting that the process of Russia's joining the OECD would be rather complex and important, and it would not do to hurry it along. If it is in 2014, excellent, if in 2015, that is also good, Gurria said.
The OECD presented on Friday a new report entitled On the Road to Growth. The organization's view is that structural reforms are for the state a powerful instrument for forcing economic growth, creating jobs, and ensuring the rapid reestablishment of balance in the economy.
Gurria said that Russia has to modernize its economy in order to achieve its desired growth. Despite its wealth of natural resources and, more importantly, excellent human resources, the Russian economy's economic potential is enormous but, unfortunately, in many sectors far from fully used, he said. The productivity of the Russian economy is not high, per capita income is low, he said. The Russian budget continues to depend on revenues from the sale of primary commodities, he said.
He added that if it is going to get away from its dependence on raw materials, Russia has to develop competitiveness, eliminate barriers to attracting investments, and reduce the government's role in the economy. Furthermore, he said, the country needs to resolve issues involving the law, battle corruption, and increase the efficiency of state management.
The modernization of the economy is impossible if the most important social tasks are not resolved, he said, adding that the extreme developmental imbalance between regions has to be addressed and resolved.
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