Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is a unique forum for discussing and formulating economic and social policies of member countries; it compares their experience and looks for answers to arising problems, helps co-ordinate their policies both inside the state and on an international field. In general, it deals with all important issues as do the governments in the individual member countries with the exception of culture and army issues. On the basis of the Convention, the OECD is authorized to conclude agreements with member and non-member countries and international organisations and adopt decisions, recommendations and declarations, some of them legally binding, to fulfil its aims. Among the most important instruments of the OECD are:
- OECD Code of Liberalisation of Current Invisible Operations and OECD Code of Liberalisation of Capital Movements
- OECD Declaration and Decisions on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises
- OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions
- OECD Policy Instruments for the Environment
- OECD Model Tax Convention
- G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance
Recommendations published by the OECD are not obligatory. It is up to the member countries how they implement such recommendations. The system of the OECD work supports their application indirectly. Reports, analyses, statistics and discussion led in the OECD are highly appreciated for their proficiency and apolitical nature. Therefore, the majority of the OECD recommendations based on the method of recommendation of best practices is fulfilled by the member countries’ governments, although the OECD does not have formal instruments for their enforcement.
The supreme body of the organisation is the OECD Council which is composed of representatives (ambassadors) of all member countries and the representative of the European Commission. It is chaired by the OECD Secretary-General. The Council meets approximately twice a month to discuss operative and strategic issues of the Organisation. Once a year, the OECD Council meets for the Ministerial Council Meeting, which brings together ministers from the member countries to discuss key issues and set priorities for OECD work. To support the OECD Council’s work several subsidiary bodies were established (such as Executive Committee, Budget Committee, Centre for Co-operation with Non-Members, Public Affairs and Communications Directorate). The fundamental part of OECD work consists in the activity of expert committees. The OECD works through approximately twenty main committees which together with various working groups and subgroups form a network of approximately 300 working bodies. Committees and working groups usually meet twice a year and the participants are experts from member countries who exchange their experience, coordinate their course of action or create common recommendations.
On a two-year cycle, the OECD publishes the so-called economic surveys which provide periodec review and specific recommendations for economic policy of a particular country.
Within the field of protection of competition, the OECD performs its activities through its Competition Committee, and its working parties (Working Party No. 2 on Competition and Regulation and Working Party No. 3 on Co-operation and Enforcement are currently active). The Competition Committee deals with the following topics:
- Abuse of dominance and monopolisation
- Cartels and anti-competitive agreements
- Liberalisation and competition intervention in regulated sectors
- Pro-competitive Policy Reforms
- Competition enforcement practices
- Regulatory reform and competition policy
The important up-to-date competition issues are discussed at regular meetings of the Competition Committee and its working parties. The representatives of the Office take part in these meetings and the Office is a regular contributor to discussion on various relevant topics.
As regards the OECD instruments in the competition field, the following are probably the most important:
- Recommendation on Fighting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement
- Recommendation concerning Effective Action against Hard Core Cartels
- Competition Assessment Toolkit
The OECD also performs peer reviews, where selected country’s policy in a particular area is examined by fellow members on an equal basis. Such reviews of national competition law and policy are conducted since 1998. The Office volunteered to undergo this review between 2007 and 2008. The results were presented in 2008, and the review was even more successful than expected. The evaluators commented positively on the developments in the competition policy and enforcement of the competition law in the Czech Republic.