Latvia starts OECD accession talks, eyes membership in two years

RIGA Mon Dec 9, 2013 10:43am EST

People learn to differentiate between original (bottom) and counterfeit euro banknotes during a workshop in Salacgriva September 24, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

People learn to differentiate between original (bottom) and counterfeit euro banknotes during a workshop in Salacgriva September 24, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ints Kalnins

RIGA (Reuters) - Latvia launched on Monday formal talks about joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the government expected accession in about two years, officials said.

The Baltic state, which had to take a rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2008 to avoid currency evaluation, was European Union's fastest growing economy last year and is to adopt euro currency from the start of 2014.

"I would really like to hope that we finish these talks and formally become an (OECD) member state in about two years time," Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgards Rinkevics told a news conference.

Latvia officials said the membership of the Paris-based club of mostly wealthy nations will make the Baltic country more attractive to investors and provide an easier access to credit markets.

"There may be some issues that come up that need to be resolved but I don't anticipate any big problems," William C. Danvers, deputy secretary-general of the OECD, told the same news conference when asked about Latvia's prospects.

Latvia's neighbor Estonia became the first the first ex-Soviet state to join OECD in 2010.

(Reporting by Aija Krutaine; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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