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Israel will be accepted as a full member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development by the end of 2009, Finance Minister Roni Bar-On stated confidently yesterday. The OECD, which includes 30 economically developed nations, accepted Israel as a candidate in May of last year, together with Russia, Chile, Estonia and Slovenia.

Bar-On met yesterday with the leaders of the Israeli steering committee and professional teams working to advance Israel's candidacy, to hear a report on their progress. The steering committee has prepared a memo laying out Israel's policy compared with the OECD's standards in several areas, he learned, including liberalization of capital movements and services, the environment, tax, public administration and corporate governance. The memo is considered to be a major milestone, based on the OECD's road map for Israel's addition to its ranks.

Also, Bar-On will take part in the OECD ministerial conference in Paris next month. It is the first time that an Israeli minister has been invited.