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Homeland Security

Washington File

27 June 2003

Evans Says Major Progress Made in Anti-bribery Campaign

(Commerce secretary details achievements in report for Congress) (590)
Major advances have recently been made in implementing an
international anti-bribery convention, the U.S. Commerce Department
In a June 26 news release, Commerce Secretary Don Evans said that all
35 signatories of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) anti-bribery convention now have laws to
criminalize the bribery of foreign public officials in international
business transactions.
Evans made the statement in his letter transmitting the annual report
-- the fifth of six required by law -- to Congress on implementation
of the convention.
The report said that in the 12 months since May 1, 2002, fewer
contracts have been affected by bribery by foreign firms of foreign
officials than in the comparable period of 2001-2002.
The report can be viewed at http://www.export.gov/tcc
Following is the text of the release:
(Note: In the text "billion" equals 1,000 million.)
(begin text)
U.S. Department of Commerce
June 26, 2003
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
"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
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
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
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
(end text)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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