OECD agrees unanimously to initiate accession talks with Thailand


The 38-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Council (OECD) has agreed unanimously to initiate accession discussions with Thailand, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) said on Monday.

Joining the group would enable Thailand to play a more prominent role on the global stage and elevate the country to international standards across various dimensions, the council said.

Membership of the OECD would raise Thailand’s levels to global standards, support other trade negotiations, enhance various opportunities, and ultimately improve the quality of life for Thai citizens, the NESDC said.

Thailand had submitted its initial letter of intent to join the OECD in April 2024 and was subsequently invited to participate in a special session with the OECD Council. During this session, Thailand presented the country's strengths and the mutual benefits of its membership. This demonstrated Thailand's commitment to applying for membership, leading to the OECD Council's unanimous decision to commence the accession process with Thailand. Consequently, Thailand has now attained the status of an OECD Accession Country.

The next step involves the OECD secretary-general preparing an Accession Roadmap for Thailand. This crucial document will outline the steps and conditions for membership. 

Throughout the accession process, Thailand must work closely with OECD committees to align its legislation, policies, and practices with OECD standards to achieve full membership in the future, the NESDC said.

While government agencies will primarily lead the efforts in collaboration with the OECD, aligning Thailand's domestic standards with those of the OECD spans various sectors and involves all segments of society. These sectors include governance, transparency, responsible business conduct, fair competition, education, labour, regional development, environment, and digitalisation. 

A key factor for Thailand's successful OECD membership will be demonstrating the country's willingness and ability to comply with OECD legal instruments, as well as ensuring that its policies and practices meet OECD standards, the NESDC said. 

This process requires the active participation and cooperation of the government, private sector, public, and civil society to align with OECD standards and successfully pass the evaluation for full membership.

Joining the OECD is not akin to entering a free trade agreement (FTA); rather, it is about enhancing and elevating Thailand's standards to be on par with norms of developed countries, the NESDC said.