PRESS RELEASE - Network for Open Economies and Inclusive Societies (NOEIS) holds Ministerial Meeting on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting - Paris, 30 May 2018

The Network for Open Economies and Inclusive Societies (NOEIS) held a Ministerial Meeting on 30 May 2018, on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. The Meeting was chaired by Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands.

The Network welcomed Mexico as a new member, bringing to 20 the number of countries committed to advancing a well-functioning open global economy while reducing excessive inequalities: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

NOEIS Ministers benefited as well from the presence of and interaction with invited stakeholders such as BIAC, TUAC and OECD Watch, whose input forms a vital part of the dialogue and feedback mechanism to which the Network committed itself when launching the initiative in 2017.

The Ministerial Meeting and related discussion provided a welcome opportunity to jointly identify key topics and prioritize targeted areas the Network should focus on in the near future, as members strive for new policy insights.

The rules-based multilateral trading system with a key role for the WTO is essential for our economies as well as for global economic stability, long-term prosperity and inclusive and sustainable growth. Recalling that protectionism is not a solution in a world of highly integrated global value chains (GVCs), Ministers committed to fighting it in all of its forms with intensified efforts, refraining from taking new protectionist measures and rolling back existing ones. There is an urgent need to ensure a truly global level playing field to address the root cause of the current trade tensions, avoiding the risk of escalation and highlighting the negative impact of trade-distorting measures across a number of sectors (particularly those with excess capacity).

With increased interconnectedness across countries, multilateralism is needed more than ever. The range of global policy challenges requiring multilateral cooperation has expanded considerably, while international dialogue and the sharing of evidence and good practices are increasingly useful to address common domestic policy issues. Understanding spillover effects from domestic policies can help ensure that national strategies are mutually reinforcing at the international level.

Making open trade and investment work for all requires national governments to take a more integrated policy approach, designing and implementing coherent policy frameworks that ensure better outcomes from globalization. The expansion of the digital economy, GVCs and services trade has increased the complexity of this relationship, multiplying interactions and indirect linkages. Trade policies and agreements should seek to ensure that the benefits of trade and investment are more widely and tangibly shared, including for women, youth and SMEs.

The Network demonstrates the importance of working together, providing a better understanding of how to link our actions at the domestic and international level to form a coordinated response, thinking of effective ways to anticipate solutions for common challenges.

It is necessary to combine policies that encourage economic openness and growth with policies fostering inclusiveness. Joint work between the WTO, the ILO and the OECD is relevant in this respect. The same applies to the cooperation between the UN system and the OECD regarding the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ensuring that OECD standards and instruments – such as the Codes of Liberalisation of Capital Movements, the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC), the Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs, the Policy Framework for Investment (PFI) and the Anti-Bribery Convention (ABC) – are aligned and effectively enforced is also important.

Domestically, governments need to strengthen the environments where benefits from open trade and investment can materialize through policies encouraging opportunity, innovation and competition. This could include product market and labour market reforms, national social protection systems, policies fostering knowledge diffusion, and investing in health and education.

Since its launch in 2017 the Network has held useful thematic expert meetings fostering peer learning and knowledge sharing, including most recently on trade and women’s economic empowerment.

During the Ministerial Meeting of 30 May countries shared good practices and lessons learned, reflecting both dimensions of economic openness and inclusiveness, an essential purpose and added value of the Network. The exchange of views was also inspired and informed by relevant insights extrapolated from NOEIS country snapshots, produced by the OECD at the request of the Network on the basis of existing work and selected indicators.

Some of the most open economies in the OECD are represented in the Network, with high trade and FDI exposure and a strong participation in GVCs. On the other hand, challenges remain. Ministers shared the view that obstacles to trade can prevent countries from reaping the full benefits of economic openness. In terms of inclusive societies, inequality of opportunities can have long term consequences for many generations, if unaddressed.

In closing the Meeting, it was acknowledged that joint ownership and continued engagement by NOEIS countries on the ground will be critical for the Network going forward.

Questions about the NOEIS can be directed to:

Natalia Cerrato

Permanent Delegation of the Netherlands to the OECD


T: +33 (0)1 40 62 33 46