Efforts to curb foreign bribery remain inadequate – New report shows the need to improve enforcement
The number of countries enforcing a ban on foreign bribery has shown continuous progress in the last six years, with countries representing more than half of world exports taking action, according to a new report by Transparency International (TI). However, in the past year twenty countries have taken little or no action.
TI’s report shows that 7 of the 36 countries evaluated are actively enforcing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention to which they are party. These countries represent approximately 30 per cent of world exports. The increase from four to seven actively enforcing countries since TI’s 2009 report is a very positive development. The 2010 TI report also shows moderate enforcement in nine other countries which account for 21 per cent of exports. The 20 countries with little or no enforcement represent about 15 per cent of world exports.
Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom have advanced from moderate to active enforcement. Argentina has advanced to moderate enforcement. Canada, a member of the Group of 8 industrialised nations, has little or no enforcement.
In the six years since TI began reviewing implementation of the OECD ban on foreign bribery, enforcement has doubled from eight to sixteen countries. That represents important progress. However, it is disturbing that 20 countries still show little or no enforcement. The difficult economic environment is no excuse for OECD governments to ignore their collective commitment to stop foreign bribery. To the contrary, cleaning up foreign bribery must be regarded as a key part of the reforms needed to overcome the worldwide recession.
One third of world exports come from countries that are not party to the OECD Convention. The increasingly important role played by China, India and Russia in the global economy cannot be ignored. As their share of world trade is growing, it is essential that these countries play by the same rules as other major exporters. TI urges the OECD to expedite its ongoing efforts for additional governments to join the convention.
To make real gains in the fight against foreign bribery, the OECD must exert high-level political pressure on lagging countries coupled with peer pressure from the leaders of countries that are actively enforcing the convention.