On 7th March, IOE&IT director general, Lesley Batchelor OBE, participated in a panel discussion on "Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity" at the Palace of Westminster.
Organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Anti-Corruption, under discussion was a report published by the APPG at the end of 2016 which addressed the UK government's anti-corruption support to UK exporters in emerging markets. The event discussed the themes of the report and their importance to the UK as a fair and global trading nation.
The session was chaired by Nigel Mills MP, co-chair of the APPG. Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the ICC UK, was the key-note speaker. In addition to Lesley, panellists were Peter Van Veen, Programme Director of the Business Integrity Programme, Jonathan Wheatcroft, Director of Forensic Services at PwC, and Brook Horowitz, CEO at IBLF Global.
Even before the Brexit vote, the UK Government had been targeting high-growth markets as priority destinations for exports. In particular, one of the aims of the Export 2020 drive was to increase the number of SMEs exporting. However corruption in many of these markets acts as a serious disincentive to companies, especially those exporting for the first time.
The APPG's report recommends:
- Improved coordination of existing government guidance on corruption issues and risk management in high-growth markets;
- Guidance framed specifically to match exporters’ needs, especially SMEs';
- More accessible, strategically coherent and better integrated guidance and sign-posting for companies;
- Provision of basic due diligence support for exporting SMEs;
- Development of networks of anti-corruption expertise and formal information sharing between businesses, especially SMEs, NGOs, the UK government and other governments in priority export markets.
The report also recommends the Government increase funding for law enforcement by the Serious Fraud Office and publish a register of debarred companies.
The full text of the report can be found on the APPG website.