Hirchson: Israel Hopes to Join OECD Within a Year

SINGAPORE - "The importance of the meetings here in Singapore with Finance Ministers, Governors [of central banks], investment funds, and large investment houses is really in meeting the people. The personal contact is the most important thing," said Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson to TheMarker yesterday at the conference.

Hirchson began conducting a series of meetings with other officials and business people at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conference in Singapore yesterday.

When his counterparts ask questions about the state of Israel's economy after the war he will answer: The situation is stable, the shekel is stable and the Israeli economy held up well during the war - and the 2007 budget also passed. Yesterday the minister met with his Jordanian counterpart.

Hirchson proposed the establishment of a joint committee to study cooperative projects between the two countries. Afterwards Hirchson met with Dutch representatives, and then later met with representatives of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD.)

Israel has been trying to join the OECD for years.

"I hope that within a year we will join the OECD," said Hirchson.

The problem is that every finance minister has promised this for years, but it has yet to be realized for political reasons. The Lebanon war and the situation vis-a-vis the Palestinians will most likely make it a difficult task once again.

Hirchson met with John Lipsky, First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, and also with the head of the largest investment fund in Singapore to try and interest them in investments in Israel.