Washington, DC – The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and USA*Engage joined four other leading associations in sending letters late yesterday to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey, urging the Administration to take specific steps to help ensure that members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are adequately enforcing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. In addition to NFTC and USA*Engage, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Association of Manufacturers, Transparency International-USA and the United States Council for International Business signed the letter.
“This landmark agreement is important because it imposes a foreign bribery prohibition on competitors from most of the major industrialized nations simultaneously. Unless there is consistent enforcement, contracts may go to competitors from countries with weaker enforcement records, and efforts to bring China and India under similar foreign bribery constraints will be undermined,” wrote the associations in the letter.
“The United States has been the driving force behind the OECD Convention, but, if it is not fully enforced, transnational bribery will continue to undermine fair competition, penalizing U.S. companies that operate with integrity. It will also undermine effective use of resources, investment and economic development, the rule of law and democracy as well as energy security and national security,” the letter continued.
The associations outlined six recommended steps the Administration should take to make certain that OECD member nations are fulfilling their obligations with respect to the Convention. Noting, “foreign bribery will only abate if there is a credible threat of enforcement and dissuasive sanctions in all major exporting nations,” the groups strongly recommended that the United States urge the United Kingdom to “enact during the 2008 parliamentary session a foreign bribery law fully compliant with its Convention obligations.” They also recommended that the Administration call for a G-8 report “detailing each Party’s progress on OECD Convention enforcement and encourage those which have not brought cases to do so,” in addition to calling for an OECD annual report “listing all foreign bribery prosecutions, including convictions and other dispositions.”
The groups called on the Administration to support accession to the Convention by China, India and Russia, to insist on high-level participation in the OECD Working Group, to urge the OECD Working Group to “reaffirm Article 5 of the Convention subject only to a narrowly drawn and reviewable exception based on the ‘necessity doctrine’ as recognized under international law.”
“We believe that the OECD Ministerial Meeting on June 4-5, 2008, is a crucial opportunity to elevate attention and pressure on all OECD members to fulfill their commitments, and we urge the United States to take the lead in this effort,” the associations concluded.
To read the full letters, please visit www.usaengage.org.