Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Russia and OECD sign co-operation pact

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development signed a co-operation pact with Russia at the annual meeting of ministers in Paris. The organisation said it would help Russia liberalise its economy, but set no target date for it to join the club of rich countries. Russia made a surprise formal membership bid at last year's meeting, but is far from meeting all the necessary requirements.

Separately, the OECD confirmed that it expected member countries' growth to average 2.5-3 per cent this year and next. It recommended further efforts to cut government budget deficits. The official communique urged a recognition of the benefits of globalisation and free trade but, in a gesture towards the French chair of the meeting, finance minister Jean Arthuis, said all groups in society must share in the economic benefits.