The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
Across the Asia-Pacific Region
Today, President Obama and APEC Leaders agreed to elevate their efforts in fighting corruption and bribery across the Asia-Pacific region. Leaders encouraged APEC Member Economies to enhance cross-border cooperation in combating public corruption, business bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade. The creation of a new network of anticorruption authorities and law enforcement agencies (ACT-NET) will support these actions and reinforces APEC’s overall efforts to spur economic growth and greater investment and trade across all economies.
Anti-Bribery and Corporate Compliance
APEC Leaders also adopted the APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Laws, and APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs. The new principles to prevent bribery and improve the enforcement of economies’ domestic and foreign bribery laws will enhance APEC economies’ compliance with their respective international commitments and help to level the playing field for U.S. companies engaged in international business.
Adopting the APEC Principles will illustrate to our citizens and the world APEC’s commitment to preventing, detecting and effectively prosecuting foreign bribery, and recovering the corrupt proceeds of such offenses. Similarly, adopting the APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs will reinforce the strong message to the business community that the private sector has an important role to play, and provide valuable guidance to our businesses on how to expose corruption.
Business Ethics for Small and Medium Enterprises
APEC Ministers have also endorsed three sets of APEC principles for voluntary codes of ethics in sectors where SMEs are the major stakeholders with a view towards their adoption across APEC economies. Corruption imposes a significant market access barrier and high costs particularly for SMEs, which can be disproportionately impacted by bribery and solicitation, resulting in a net drain on economic growth. The United States worked closely with APEC economies in developing the voluntary ethics principles and is now conducting a series of workshops with APEC trading partners to implement them. The first SME Business Ethics Forum was held in Nanjing, China in September 2014, to highlight accomplishments, including the adoption of 18 new industry association codes across 9 APEC member economies. Participants issued the Nanjing Declaration to Promote Ethical Business Environments in the Medical Device and Biopharmaceutical Sectors for SMEs which calls on APEC member economies to double the number of codes for the healthcare sector between 2012 and 2015. A similar event was held in September in Manila, with focus on the construction and engineering sector.
U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
The Obama Administration, following long-standing U.S. efforts, takes a firm stand against public corruption within the United States and abroad with respect to American and other companies that engage in bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business.
Through the enforcement of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and our Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice and our other law enforcement and regulatory agencies have vigorously pursued bribe payers of all stripes: large corporations and small companies; powerful CEOs and frontline sales agents; U.S. and foreign companies; citizens and foreign nationals; direct payers and intermediaries.
President Obama and the U.S. Government continue to drive a robust agenda to prevent and prosecute corruption around the world to hold accountable those who exploit the public’s trust for private gain. Preventing corruption preserves funds for public revenue and thereby helps drive development and economic growth. By contrast, pervasive corruption siphons revenue away from the public budget and undermines the rule of law and the confidence of citizens in their governments. It also facilitates human rights abuses and organized crime, empowers kleptocracies, and can threaten the stability of entire regions. The United States views corruption as a growing threat to the national security of our country and allies around the world.
International Cooperation in other Fora
Through these and other longstanding efforts, the United States remains a global leader on anticorruption. The United States was a leader in developing fundamental international legal frameworks such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions negotiated at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the global architecture for international legal cooperation in areas such as asset recovery and denial of entry. The United States continues to lead in providing funding for capacity building to fight corruption and promote good governance.