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Israel has completed the first stage of joining the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. In this stage, Israel committed itself to adopting the accepted legal foundations for group members - the world's most developed nations - regarding policy, legislation and implementation, among others.

In May 2007 the OECD invited Israel to start the accession process. Israel's target for meeting the organization's standards is the end of 2009.

Finance Minister Roni Bar-On said yesterday that completing the first stage during a period of economic uncertainty highlights the Israeli economy's advantages.

Israel has been committed for years to the highest international standards, he said.