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IV

108TH CONGRESS

2D SESSION

H. RES. 617

Expressing support for the accession of Israel to the Organization for

Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

APRIL 30, 2004 Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN (for herself, Mr. PENCE, Mrs. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia,

Mr. McCOTTER, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. BLUNT, and Mr. LANTOS) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

RESOLUTION Expressing support for the accession of Israel to the Organi

zation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Whereas Israel has been trying to join the Organization for

Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since 2000, when it met the OECD's membership requirements

relating to industrial and per-capita product criteria; Whereas Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Finance

Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently sent a joint letter to the foreign and finance ministers of the 30 member countries of the OECD, stating that Israel's involvement as a non-member country in the OECD's various committees is increasing, and that Israel meets the economic and institutional criteria required to join the OECD;

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Whereas Israel was recently asked to take part in the

OECD's Insurance and Commerce Committees;

Whereas membership in the OECD could enhance Israel's

status on the global market and within international financial institutions, lowering the risk factor on foreign loans to Israel;

Whereas Israel's economic and technological standing could

potentially benefit OECD member countries in the science and technology, including high-technology, sectors;

Whereas in 2003, the World Economic Forum ranked Israel

20th out of 102 countries in its Growth Competitiveness Index, and the World Economic Forum's Technology Index ranked Israel 9th, before Canada (11th), Norway (13th), Germany (14th), the United Kingdom (16th), and the Netherlands (18th); and

Whereas Israel is carrying out far reaching economic reforms

based on the OECD's recommendations with respect to taxes, labor, competition, capital markets, pension funds, energy, infrastructures, communications, and transport: Now, therefore, be it

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Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Rep

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prises;

(3) the United States Government should sup

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port and advocate the accession of Israel to the

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OECD at the next meeting of the OECD, including

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Israel in other international fora, Israel, upon acces

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sion to the OECD, should be afforded all the rights

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and privileges granted to all other member countries, including representation in the OECD's Council, the

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H.L.C.

AMENDMENT TO H. RES. 617

OFFERED BY Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN

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Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PITTS. The gentleman, Mr. Ackerman.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Reserving the right to object.

Mr. PITTS. Reserving the right to object, the gentleman is recognized.

Mr. ACKERMAN. And I certainly will not object. I thank you for chairing today's session, Mr. Chairman. I want to particularly commend the Chair of the Subcommittee, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, for bringing these resolutions before us today. She has long been a champion for human rights around the globe, and today's resolutions regarding human rights in Syria and concerning the repression of the Bahá'í in Iran continue her good works in that regard.

Additionally, I am pleased to see the resolutions regarding Israel's participation in the Western European and Others Group at the U.N. and supporting Israel's ascension to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. I think it is important for the Congress to speak out in support of Israel's participation in international organizations, and Ms. Ros-Lehtinen has been a leader in that regard as well. I thank her, and I thank you, Mr. Chair, and I urge our colleagues to support the resolutions, and I withdraw my reservation.

Mr. CROWLEY. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. PITTS. The gentleman is recognized on his reservation.

Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Chairman, let me also add, I am certainly not going to object at all to these resolutions going forward. I just want to express my gratitude to the Chair and the Ranking Member for moving these resolutions forward, in particular, the resolution with regard to Israel's participation in WEOG, also known as the Western European and Others Group within the United Nations, is an issue that I have been working on for quite some time, and I congratulate Ms. Ros-Lehtinen for her leadership on this issue. It is also representative of the fact that I am on all of these resolutions, and I strongly support them, as well as H. Res. 617, expressing support for the accession of Israel to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an issue, again, that I have been working on for quite some time. But all of these resolutions, I think, are laudable and deserve unanimous support, and with that I withdraw my right to object.

Mr. Pitts. The Chair thanks the gentleman. The gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff, is recognized.

Mr. SCHIFF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word. I also want to thank the Chair of the Subcommittee for her leadership on these issues and join in my support of them. The Syria Accountability Act, I think, was a very important step, but H. Con. Res. 363 goes further, acknowledging the very significant and poor human rights record in Syria. I think, is very important, and it is regrettable that we have not seen more progress by Bashar Assad, notwithstanding high expectations in the beginning of his rule of that country.

I also want to reiterate my own condemnation of the persecution of the Iranian Bahá'í, something Congress has spoken out on many times, and I am proud to be a co-sponsor of that resolution.

Finally, on the two resolutions affecting Israel's membership in WEOG and OECD, the exclusion from these organizations, I think,

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