Canada Will Not Support Russia’s Accession to OECD

May 7, 2014 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today delivered the following statement to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regarding Russia’s accession to the OECD:

“Good morning, colleagues. And thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to outline Canada’s views on several important issues.

“Canada very much welcomes the OECD’s efforts to reach out to non-members, particularly to significant emerging economies. Canada takes note of the progress being made by Latvia and Colombia on their path to accession. We are also encouraged by the good work being undertaken by both Costa Rica and Lithuania as they position themselves to embark upon their journey toward accession.

“Colleagues, it is important that we, as OECD partners, share our values, our experiences and our best practices with others who aspire to adhere to the high standards that the OECD has set for resilient economies and inclusive societies.

“Might I take the liberty of saying that these very standards and the prosperity and well-being they generate also play a critical role in securing global peace and security.

“Which brings me to the very troubling situation that is at the forefront of all of our minds; and that is the Russian Federation’s continued aggression and aggressive behaviour in Eastern Europe, as more particularly evidenced in Ukraine.

“The Putin regime’s military aggression and illegal occupation of Ukraine threaten the stability and security of Central and Eastern Europe. Those actions clearly contravene the over-riding principles and fundamental values that OECD members have committed to uphold. Indeed, those actions have become a very real threat to global security.

“The OECD has, for many years, been cooperating with countries that have undertaken significant economic reform efforts, including with the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, because of Russia’s recent actions, the countries represented at this table have collectively made the decision to postpone Russia’s accession process. This remains an important element in our coordinated international response to the Russian Federation’s acts of aggression. Canada fully supports this decision and will continue to work with its allies and like-minded countries to apply pressure that will further isolate Russia economically and politically.

“Furthermore, Canada will not support its accession to the OECD until the Putin regime clearly demonstrates its respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“At the same time, Ukraine deserves our full support at this critical time in its history and development. Canada strongly advocates for expanding the OECD’s cooperation with Ukraine. I note that it was Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who was the first G-7 leader to visit Ukraine since the beginning of this crisis.

“I believe that the OECD can and will play an indispensable role in supporting Ukraine’s economic reform efforts, as it has for so many other countries in Eastern Europe. To that end, Ukraine has come to us seeking assistance with reforms in specific areas. These include anti-corruption efforts, public governance and administration, regulatory reform, improving the business climate, and enhancing energy efficiency and renewable energy. Canada commends Ukraine for its efforts to reach out to the OECD.

“I also note that there are many other international organizations mobilizing resources to assist Ukraine. I encourage the OECD to focus its efforts in areas where it has a proven expertise and to coordinate its action with other bodies to avoid duplication.

“Colleagues, Canada remains determined to support Ukraine through this difficult time.

“We remain committed to working with all of our allies to preserve and promote a peaceful, democratic, prosperous and free world.

“Mr. Chairman, thank you again for the opportunity to comment.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Shannon Gutoskie
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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