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June 28, 2002
  Contact: Trevor Francis
Julie Cram

Commerce Report Shows Continued Progress
on Implementing Antibribery Convention
Now Up to Countries to Show Political Will to Apply Their Laws

Commerce Secretary Don Evans released today the fourth annual report to Congress on implementation of the OECD Antibribery Convention.

In his letter transmitting the report to Congress, Evans said that some Parties have taken important steps to correct some of the deficiencies in their legislation, in particular major exporters the United Kingdom and Japan, and that peer group monitoring has moved to the important stage of ensuring effective enforcement.

In just over three years since its entry into force, all but 2 countries, Chile and Turkey, have laws on their books that make it a crime to bribe foreign public officials in international business transactions.

Since the 2001 report to Congress on implementation of the OECD Antibribery Convention, New Zealand, Portugal and Brazil adopted laws to implement the Convention. Thirty-three of the thirty-five signatory countries now have implementing legislation.

The Report reiterates the Administration's view that Parties must now enforce their laws. Secretary Evans emphasized in his letter that "[w]e continue to be disturbed by persistent reports of alleged bribery of foreign public officials by firms in countries where the Antibribery Convention is in force. ... At the same time we are encouraged that investigations, and potential prosecutions, may be forthcoming by other Parties."

The U.S. government has brought fourteen enforcement actions over the past year, the Report revealed. The Commerce report also noted that between May 1, 2001 and April 30, 2002, the competition for 60 contracts worth a total of $35 billion may have been affected by bribery of foreign officials and that of these 60 contracts, U.S. firms are believed to have lost nine contracts worth $6 billion. Furthermore, firms from OECD signatory countries continue to account for about 70 percent of these alleged bribe offers.

Under Secretary for International Trade Grant Aldonas stated that he will expect that during Phase II enforcement reviews, governments will be prepared to explain sufficiently the procedures and methods they have developed for identifying and pursuing cases of transnational bribery.

The July 2002 report on implementation of the OECD Antibribery Convention is the fourth of six annual reports that the Department of Commerce was mandated to submit to Congress under the International Antibribery and Fair Competition Act (IAFCA) of 1998. The IAFCA approved changes in U.S. law to implement the Convention. The Report and more information is available on: www.export.gov/tcc.


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