Finance Minister Roni Bar-On, Treasury Director General Yoram Ariav and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer met last week OECD deputy secretary general Thelma Askey.
Mrs. Askey arrived in Israel for talks over the steps Israel will need to take over the coming months to meet OECD acceptance standards. The process is expected to continue for about a year.
The OECD delegation specialists which includes eight senior officers of the organization, includes experts on such areas as taxation, administration and environmental protection had a series of meeting with representatives of the private sector as well as Treasury officials.
In a press conference the Finance Minister noted that the government had established a inter-ministerial steering committee headed by Oded Bruck, director of the treasury's International Affairs Department, and 15 subcommittees that will work with the OECD.
Bar-On noted that the process of accession into the OECD is now beginning, after an excellent report on the Israeli economy published by the International Monetary Fund, and after the ratings firm Standard & Poors raised Israel's rating last year. Israel's inclusion in the OECD, he said, sends a clear message to international and local markets, placing Israel on the front line with leading economies of the world.
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said that Israel's invitation to join the OECD reflected the robust state of the economy, and would help promote its integration in the global economy.
He added that admission to the OECD would entail the updating of legislation to bring it in line with OECD benchmarks.
Fischer stressed that. "Admission to the OECD is worth something on global markets. It will help us, but that's not the main thing. What is more important is that we continue with reforms, structural changes and privatization."