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June 26, 2003
  Contact: Heather Layman
(202) 482-3809

Commerce Report Reveals Major Progress in OECD Antibribery Efforts
All Signatories Now Have Laws to Implement Antibribery Convention

Commerce Secretary Don Evans today released the fifth-annual report to Congress on implementation of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (Antibribery Convention).

In his letter transmitting the report to Congress, Evans noted that with the adoption in January by Turkey of implementing legislation, all 35 signatories now have laws in force to criminalize the bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. Only Ireland must still deposit an instrument of ratification with the OECD.

"Aggressive enforcement of these important laws must be a priority for each party," Evans said.
"I am pleased to report that several parties are investigating or prosecuting cases of bribery of foreign public officials under their implementing laws."

Furthermore, the report states that U.S. government estimates that between May 1, 2002, and April 30, 2003, the competition for 40 contracts worth $23 billion may have been affected by bribery by foreign firms of foreign officials. These figures represent a decrease from the 60 contracts and $35 billion estimate for the same period in 2001-2002.

The report also states that important enforcement reviews by the OECD Working Group on Bribery of Iceland, Germany and Bulgaria were completed over the past year; a review of Canada is currently underway; and reviews of France and Norway are scheduled for later this year. To support this important work, the Department of Commerce has provided a grant of $100,000 targeted for these compliance reviews.

Secretary Evans emphasized that fighting corruption remains the shared responsibility of governments, the private sector and civil society. In particular, he said corporate officers must be responsible corporate stewards because corporations working in free markets can spread the essential values of honest competition and the rule of law.

In May 2003, to support future efforts to encourage other parties to investigate cases, the Department of Commerce instructed its Foreign Commercial Officers to bring credible allegations of bribery by foreign competitors to the attention of appropriate U.S. government officials.

The July 2003 report on implementation of the OECD Antibribery Convention is the fifth of six annual reports that the Department of Commerce was mandated to submit to Congress under the International Antibribery and Fair Competition Act of 1998 (IAFCA). The IAFCA approved changes in U.S. law to implement the convention. The report and more information are available at: www.export.gov/tcc.

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