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The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was established in 1961. Today, the OECD is a forum of 34 industrialised countries that develops and promotes economic and social policies. Its mission is to ‘build strong economies in its member countries, improve efficiency, home market systems, expand free trade, and contribute to development in industrialised as well as developing countries’. Simply stated, the OECD acts on behalf of and in collaboration with its member governments to promote free market policies and trade.

OECD Member Countries

The OECD provides its members with a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. Its forerunner was created by 18 European countries and the United States and Canada. Today the OECD consists of 34 countries, including members characterised as emerging economies. Additionally, the OECD works closely with several countries from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean to further shape its work.

The 34 OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

What is the OECD Investment Committee?

The Investment Committee was formed in April 2004 following the merger of the Committee on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises (CIME) and the Committee on Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions (CMIT). Members of the Committee are delegates from OECD member countries and signatories to the OECD Declaration and Decisions on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. In addition to the 34 OECD member states, 12 non-member countries have signed up to implement the OECD Guidelines: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru, Romania and Tunesia. 

The OECD Investment Committee is responsible for the OECD liberalisation instruments in the field of international investment and services. Its main function is to interpret, implement and monitor the 1976 Declaration and Decisions on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises, a policy commitment to provide an open and transparent environment for international investment and to encourage the positive contribution multinational enterprises can make to economic and social progress.

The tasks of the Investment Committee are to 1) promote liberalisation of policies towards international capital movements, international direct investment and multinational enterprises, and trade in services; 2) foster international co-operation in these fields and 3) promote better understanding of the policy issues at stake. In pursuit of these goals, the Committee provides a forum for discussion of current issues among policy makers from member and non-member countries, businesses and other stakeholders; conducts country-by-country or horizontal "peer reviews" of policies relating to the instruments and make recommendations to promote liberalisation; and prepares critical analysis of trends in investment flows.

The OECD Investment Committee and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are a part of the 1976 OECD Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. Although observance of the OECD Guidelines is guided by National Contact Points (NCPs) for the OECD Guidelines set up by OECD and adhering governments, the OECD Investment Committee has the oversight responsibility for the OECD Guidelines. The Investment Committee, more specifically its Working Party for Responsible Business Conduct, assists NCPs with carrying out their activities and makes recommendations on how they can improve their performance. Additionally, the Investment Committee conducts periodic reviews of the experiences with the provisions of the Guidelines.

The Investment Committee cannot pronounce itself on the question whether a particular company has or has not respected the Guidelines in any given case. Additionally, in the case of non-observance no sanction can be imposed upon an OECD or adhering country. If there is a dispute about the applicability of the Guidelines, the Investment Committee may be asked to consider issuing an amendment to the text or a clarification of a particular clause. This clarification can be sought by member countries, advisory committees TUAC and BIAC, and since 2011 also by OECD Watch.


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