29, 2000 Contact: Daniel Cruise, 202-482-3809
Report Shows Progress on Combating Bribery in International Business,
Bribes Remain a Big Problem
DC--A twenty-year effort to build international consensus
on combating bribery is starting to achieve results, according to
a report to Congress released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
According to the Report, twenty-one of the thirty-four countries
that signed the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign
Public Officials in International Business Transactions have ratified
the Convention. These countries account for about 78 percent of
all exports from OECD countries. Most other signatory countries
are expected to become parties to the Convention before the end
of the year.
"To date, we
are encouraged by the actions that signatories have taken and the
seriousness with which they have approached the task of implementing
the Convention," Commerce Secretary William M. Daley said in a letter
to Congress. "Free and fair trade is the name of the game, and we
are committed to creating a level playing field in which U.S. firms
can compete on equal footing with our global competitors."
on curbing anti-bribery, Daley said the United States has varying
degrees of concern about the adequacy of several countries' legislation,
including that of Japan and the United Kingdom. This concern is
not only about the commercial impact of bribes to foreign public
officials, but that corrupt practices "impede economic development
around the globe and hinders the development of democratic institutions."
Since the report
was completed the French Parliament passed new anti-bribery legislation,
and the British government has issued a White Paper proposing new
measures to strengthen UK anti-corruption laws..
report noted that in the period from May 1994 through April 2000,
the outcome of 353 international contracts valued at approximately
$165 billion may have been affected by bribes to public officials.
U.S. firms are alleged to have lost 92 of these contracts worth
about $26 billion.
"The fact that
bribery of foreign public officials affects the awarding of international
contracts worth billions of dollars is unacceptable," said Commerce
Under Secretary for International Trade Robert LaRussa. "We will
not rest until these numbers come down, but that is unlikely to
happen until we get all signatories to fulfill their obligations
in the OECD Convention to criminalize bribery and vigorously enforce
their anti-bribery laws."
The July 2000
report on implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention is
the second of six annual reports that the Department of Commerce
was mandated to submit to Congress under the International Anti-Bribery
and Fair Competition Act (IAFCA) of 1998. The IAFCA approved changes
in U.S. law to implement the Convention.
and more information is available on: trade.gov/media.