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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

For OECD, Russia Is Merely On Guest List

PARIS -- Russia is expected to knock on the door of one of the world's elite economic clubs as ministers from the 29 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development gather for their two-day annual summit starting Tuesday.


But participants say chances are nil that Russia will win entry in the near term.


Representatives from the OECD member countries are expected to use their time together to debate the economic benefits and social drawbacks of increasing global trade and to compare notes on fighting unemployment.


Among those in attendance will be Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who is scheduled to arrive Tuesday to sign an agreement on closer ties with the OECD.


But while the ministers are expected to offer a "friendly-but-firm" signal on a Russian membership request, the OECD's Canadian Secretary General, Donald Johnston, told reporters ahead of the summit that Russian membership was a long term goal. Moscow still has a long way to go on reform before starting talks on joining the free-market organization, he said.


In addition to globalization and unemployment, the talks will also focus on battling corruption and criminalizing bribery of state officials in business transactions.


U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley announced Friday night that the OECD states had agreed to introduce laws by April 1998 criminalizing bribery of foreign state officials in business dealings and to simultaneously start talks on a treaty that would achieve that end.


Highlighting the policy dilemmas involved at OECD, whose main goal is promoting a more "liberal" economic strategy, is a new report showing structural unemployment has risen during the 1990s but commending those who have reformed along the lines it espouses.