ECT interested in institutional relationship with OPEC

Jan 24, 2003 01:00 AM

The Secretary General of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) organization, Dr Ria Kemper, has said that rich oil and gas-exporting countries had tremendous advantages to gain from joining the treaty. She said such a move would encourage the flow of international capital and investment, particularly from the west, to help develop countries' massive oil and gas potentials.
Kemper said the treaty, which was built on the principle of openness, non-discrimination and market orientation, recognized individual nations' rights to the control and maximization of their natural resources. It also upheld nations' access to free commodity markets, especially for the gas-producing states, she said.

The ECT Secretary General noted that the treaty, by its very structure and institutional framework, had maintained a pioneering role in terms of treaty-based international energy cooperation. "It is unique in covering all forms of international energy cooperation simultaneously, as well as investment, trade, transit, and energy efficiency," she pointed out. Besides, she explained, the ECT provided a platform for its member countries to join the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Kemper noted that the ECT was the first binding multilateral agreement on the promotion and protection of foreign investment that included a fully developed dispute settlement mechanism, among other investment friendly provisions. "As we see it, the treaty embodies a balanced approach to the creation of attractive investment conditions in producer states, promoting the interests of both foreign investors and host governments," she remarked.

Kemper said the charter was not, as some assumed, designed for adoption exclusively within Europe. "It is true that the treaty was originally conceived and promoted as an initiative of the EU. But our geo-political scope as an organization is by now truly 'Eurasian' in nature. We believe that a targeted further expansion of the charter's membership would be in the interest of global energy security," she affirmed.
Kemper described the attempt at promoting an institutional relationship between OPEC and the ECT, as attested to by the holding of workshops to discuss areas of mutual and divergent interests, as a most welcome development. She said the ECT, as a body, welcomed OPEC Member Countries, as well as OPEC as an organization, to develop stronger ties, with a view to promoting common concerns.

Kemper stressed the desire of her organization to offer OPEC observer status at its meetings, as part of the move to strengthen its institutional relationship with the Organization and its Member Countries.
Seven of the 11 OPEC Member Countries currently enjoy observer status to the body, with Iran's application approved just recently.

Source: OPEC News Agency
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