The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is based in Paris, supports governments in their efforts to meet the economic, social and environmental challenges of today’s globalised economic environment. Currently, the OECD has a membership made up of 34 industrialised nations, and plays a central role in promoting good governance in both the public and private sectors, and, through its analytical activities and sector oversight, helps states maintain the competitiveness of their most important economic sectors and implement their strategic plans. In addition, it contributes to the development of new international rules in those areas where it sees a need to establish a level playing field through the development of international instruments such as conventions, decisions and recommendations.
In view of the marked shift in the balance of economic power in the world and the challenges of globalisation, the OECD plays the role of an international forum in economic matters. In 2007, the OECD members decided to introduce a policy of enlargement, and it is currently reviewing applications for membership from Russia. The second pillar of its enlargement policy involves so-called enhanced engagement, though which it aims to develop closer contacts with important emerging economies such as Brazil, Indonesia, China, South Africa and other emerging nations, and to include them in its activities.
The OECD was established in 1961, and Switzerland is founding member. As a nation outside the G7/G8, the G20 and the European Union, the OECD is an important international platform for Switzerland to safeguard its interests. Switzerland is committed to fostering a permanent dialogue among OECD member states with the aim of implementing sustainable and progressive policies.
On 13 March 2009, the Federal Council decided to adopt the OECD standard on administrative assistance in tax matters in accordance with Art. 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. In the process of revising its agreements on the avoidance of double taxation with other countries, this decision allows new double tax agreements to provide for the exchange of information in individual cases where a specific and justified request has been made.
The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) plays an active role in the following committees and working groups:
- OECD Ministerial Council
- Executive Committee in Special Session (ECSS)
- Investment Committee
- Advisory Group on Co-operation with OECD non-Members (investments)
- Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions
- Committee on Fiscal Affairs
- Working Group 8 on tax evasion and tax fraud
- Forum on Harmful Tax Practices
- Committee on Capital Markets Regulation
- Economic Policy Committee
- Working Party No. 3 on Policies for the Promotion of Better International Payments Equilibrium
- International Energy Agency
- Development Co-operation Directorate