OECD Welcomes China as an Observer to its Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy

March 15, 2002

Paris, 14 March 2002

The OECD has invited China to participate as an Observer in its Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP) which addresses a broad range of policy issues from the financing of research and innovation and the promotion of industry-science relations to the patenting of genetic inventions and international co-operation in large scientific ventures.

This is first time China has requested and been granted Observer status in any of the several dozen Committees, composed of government representatives, that form the backbone of the OECD's operations in support of intergovernmental co-operation.

OECD has been engaged in dialogue and co-operation with China since 1995. Co-operation has covered a broad range of issues, leading to policy recommendations for structural reforms, with a recent focus on the liberalisation of trade and investment in the context of China's accession to the WTO.

Through rapid economic growth in the past two decades, China has become the third largest economy by its share of the world GDP, and an important global player in the in high-tech industries. In 2000, China was the third largest producer of goods in information and communications technologies (ICT) and it is predicted to become the largest ICT hardware producer within the next 10 years. China is also an important partner in science and technology, with impressive achievements in the past and one of the largest pools of high quality R&D personnel in the world. Science and technology and innovation are among key areas to be strengthened in China's five-year plan for 2001-2005.

As a developing country, China faces the challenge of further strengthening its infrastructure in science and technology while harnessing it to promote productivity, innovation and social welfare. China's overall R&D effort, measured as a share of GDP, is still low by OECD standards but increasing. Structural and institutional changes are needed to improve the magnitude and efficiency of S&T inputs, enhance the role of the business sector in R&D and innovation, and foster the diffusion and use of technology throughout the economy, including in the service sector. In a letter to the Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr. Guanhua Xu, Minister for Science and Technology, expressed his belief that observership in the CSTP will not only allow China to learn from the experience of OECD countries through policy discussion and the identification of best practices, but will provide a fresh impetus to the government's efforts to enhance the contribution of science, technology and innovation to China's economic development.

The first meeting in which China will participate as an Observer will take place in Paris on 19-20 March 2002. Currently, four other Asian economies are also observers in various OECD bodies. These economies are: Hong Kong, China; India; Singapore; and Chinese Taipei.

For further information, journalists are invited to contact Mr. Daniel Malkin [tel.: +33 1 45 24 93 80] or Mr. Gabriel Drilhon [tel.: +33 1 45 24 93 65] in the OECD's Science, Technology and Industry Directorate.

More on OECD's work on Science and Technology Policy.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
http://www.oecd.org

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