As the OECD celebrated 20 years of the Anti-Bribery Convention last week, USCIB’s Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl took part in a panel at the event “Celebrating the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention at 20, the FCPA at 40 & Addressing the Challenges Ahead”.
Hampl addressed the cost that corruption and bribery present to business and the important role the OECD plays to level the playing field in that regard. Specifically, companies from OECD countries, who have to comply with the OECD Anti-bribery Convention, compete with companies from non-OECD countries that are not subject to the same anti-bribery measures.
“This leads to unfair competition and can even create an environment favorable to corrupt practices,” warned Hampl. “U.S. companies of course have to comply with the FCPA, which means they spend a significant amount of resources on developing anti-corruption policies and compliance programs as well as training systems for employees so that they are well-equipped to withstand demands for corruption.”
Other speakers at the event included Stuart Eizenstat, former domestic policy advisor, President Carter & U.S. Ambassador to the EU, Under Secretary of Commerce, Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Drago Kos, chair of the OECD Working Group on Bribery, as well as officials from the Department of Justice and anti-corruption experts from international and policy organizations.
The OECD Anti-bribery Convention is a landmark instrument addressing the bribery of foreign officials. The OECD, with its multi-disciplinary nature, has the capacity to take a coordinated approach to the right against corruption. While we commend the work the OECD has already done in this space, there are several issues where USCIB advocates for further work to be done: (1) Increased adherence to the Convention, particularly b G20 countries; (2) Increased efforts to address the demand side of bribery (i.e. bribe solicitation and extortion by public officials); (3) More measures to facilitate voluntary self-disclosure; and (4) Addressing the growing complexity and costs of complying with multiple anti-bribery regimes by promoting clarity and greater international consistency.
Additionally, Hampl also attended the event No Turning Back: 40 Years of the FCPA and 20 Years of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. The agenda included speakers from various U.S. government offices that play an integral part enforcing the FCPA, OECD officials, foreign government officials, representatives from academia and international institutions, as well as the private sector, including General Electric and Citibank. The keynote address to kick off the event was given by Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco.