Eliminating Corruption (June 2006)

The Issue

Corruption is a fundamental concern for American businesses, and remains a significant and unfair barrier to trade and economic development in many countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It creates a negative investment climate, stifles economic activity, distorts prices and undermines national legal and judicial systems. Corruption harms not only the citizens of the countries where it exists, but also US and other foreign businesses operating in these countries. Corrupt practices contribute to the spread of organized crime and terrorism. Corruption is a major factor in reducing competitiveness in an increasingly globalized economy.

The Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) has strongly encouraged businesses, governments, international organizations and multilateral financial institutions to intensify their efforts to stem official corruption, to eliminate bribery in business transactions, to increase transparency and to promote good governance in general.

What Needs To Be Done

APCAC urges the United States Government to:

  • Ratify the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
  • Strengthen good governance by increasing funding for the Millennium Challenge Account and other assistance programs to aid countries that are committed rooting out corruption
  • Push for rigorous implementation of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Officials
  • Work with other governments and international organizations to establish and enforce strict penalties for corruption, and deny safe haven to corrupt individuals and their assets
  • Selectively support the work of non-governmental organizations that combat corruption and promote clean government at all levels

APCAC strongly encourages governments in the region to:

  • Create credible and transparent legal and judicial systems to promote the rule of law
  • Enact legislation that protects the sanctity of contracts, and implement effective dispute settlement methods, including independent arbitration
  • Establish independent systems to monitor the integrity of government agencies
  • Promote judicial reforms to eliminate long delays, corruption, and incompetence
  • Assure the integrity of capital markets and financial disclosure
  • Improve public accounting, auditing, and corporate governance standards
  • Implement transparent bidding processes in areas such as procurement and privatization
  • Enact effective bankruptcy and insolvency laws
  • Limit discretionary authority for officials who perform inspections or audits, oversee procurement, grant licenses and permits, or provide final approval for contracts or projects
  • Provide reasonable access to public records and information
  • Enact laws providing general protection for whistle-blowing individuals who report criminal acts to the authorities

Additional Background

World Bank

In a major speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 11, 2006, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said, “We know that when governments don’t work, the development assistance we provide to governments doesn’t work either.”

In the speech, he announced a plan to enhance the Bank’s work on governance and anticorruption on several fronts. Read more …

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Asian Development Bank wants to remove the burden that corruption inflicts upon the economies of the region and the development process. One way that ADB does this is by ensuring its institutional integrity. ADB’s Anticorruption Policy requires all ADB-financed activity, including all ADB staff, adhere to the highest financial and ethical standards. Read more …

U.S. Strategy to Internationalize Efforts Against Kleptocracy

“High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corruption. It threatens our national interest and violates our values. It impedes our efforts to promote freedom and democracy, end poverty, and combat international crime and terrorism. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people. Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda.” —

Statement by the President on Kleptocracy, August 10, 2006

Fact Sheet, The White House, August 10, 2006

Statement by Undersecretary of State Josette Shiner and others, August 10, 2006

G8 Leaders’ Statement, St Petersburg, July 16, 2006

“High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corruption. We can confront kleptocracy and help create the conditions necessary for people everywhere to enjoy the full benefits of honest, just, and accountable governance.” “Read more …

Guam Chamber of Commerce

The Guam Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit voluntary association of business and professional individuals and firms united in their desire to improve business and build a better social and economic community on Guam.