Introduction by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, special session of the OECD Council
Paris, 21 October 2010
A very warm welcome to you, Mr. President. We are proud to have you here just a few months after Chile has become the first South-American member of the OECD.
This is also a very auspicious moment, just a few days after Chile has demonstrated to the rest of the world what can be accomplished with team spirit, solidarity and hope. The rescue operation at San José have taught us a very valuable lesson: if we stand and act together, we win; with creativity and the right attitude, we can solve almost any problem.
This is similar to the lesson we have learned from the economic and financial crisis. Our way out of the crisis is through co-operation. Our willingness to come together will define our success in restoring growth and re-injecting confidence in the economy, in financial institutions and in governments. This is the main role of the OECD: to promote this co-operation. And I am glad that Chile is now part of the family. The first country to join our organisation in ten years, Chile is signalling that it is ready to work closer together with other nations to solve problems that are global in nature.
Mr. President, we are convinced that OECD member countries can learn much from Chile’s experience. Chile will add important policy lessons to our “Club of Better Policies”, based on its well-run market economy and its innovative reforms in many policy areas. But we can also offer our help to Chile in its quest to live up to its full potential, based on our 50 years of experience setting higher international standards and developing best practices in policy-making. Chile joining our organisation is a proof of your country’s commitment to those high standards and your readiness to implement them.
The Chilean economy is emerging strongly from the crisis. But many challenges remain. With this in mind, Mr. President, your administration has embarked on an ambitious reform agenda.
In the short-term, the main challenge is to maintain the momentum of the recovery while preserving price stability in the context of large capital inflows. At the same time, and taking a longer term view, productivity levels need to improve to ensure a sustainable rise in living standards. This requires reforms of product and labour markets, increased competition and measures to enhance entrepreneurship. Last but not least, Chile needs to equip itself to tap into new sources of growth by promoting innovation and going green.
Mr. President, you know business and markets very well, as one of the most successful and innovative entrepreneurs in Latin America. You are not only a successful “entrepreneur”: you care about the people and about society. In your “State of the Union” address you said that comprehensive reform strategies will be needed to improve social mobility and equality issues in Chile. And you announced the creation of a “society of opportunities”, an endeavour in which education and social reforms will be critical.
We are ready to contribute to support your reform agenda, helping with concrete ideas and policy recommendations based on our extensive experience with economic analysis, peer review and policy dialogue.
Mr. President, let me thank you again for being with us today on the occasion of your first state visit to France, at a time when we are about to start the commemorations of our 50th anniversary.
Esta es su casa.
President Piñera, you have the floor!
Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, Press conference
Paris, 21 October 2010
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today’s visit of President Piñera to the OECD has focused on how Chile can best contribute to global policy discussions at the OECD, and on how helpful and supportive the OECD can be for Chile in its continued efforts to promote policy reforms and achieve its development goals.
The President and I have exchanged not only our views on the Chilean economy, but also on the global economic outlook. Chile’s economy has rebounded in an impressive manner in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the natural disasters that hit the country. But many challenges remain if Chile is to live up to its full potential.
We have discussed these challenges, particularly the need to improve productivity growth through the reform of product and labour markets, by fostering competition and by implementing measures to enhance entrepreneurship. The President and I also discussed policy options to help “Chile going green and innovative” and how our forthcoming Green Growth Strategy can help in this endeavour.
President Piñera also shared with us his plans to launch an “Agenda for Opportunities” in order to increase social mobility, equality and to meet his goal to eradicate extreme poverty by 2014. The creation of a Ministry of Social Development is a first step in this direction that the OECD welcomes, but we agree with the President that education and social reforms will also be fundamental to reach these objectives.
Finally, as I had the opportunity to tell the President both during our bilateral meeting and at the special session of the OECD Council we held in his honour, we are happy to receive him today, following the extraordinary example of hope, team work and determination that Chile has sent to the rest of the world.
When Chile joined the OECD last May, and during the various stages of the accession process, I repeated that Chile’s entry into our Organisation would enrich our “club of best practices”. The rescue of the miners in San José shows once more what Chile is capable of achieving.
The “Chilean way” holds lessons for our members. We are proud to have them in the family.
>> To learn more about OECD work on Chile, visit: http://www.oecd.org/chile