Major Exporting Countries Fail to Punish Corruption

Wed 12 Sept 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

transparency corruption anti-bribery

Anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, has released the 2018 edition of its ‘Exporting Corruption’ report, rating countries on their level of enforcement of anti-bribery laws and conventions.

According to the report, most of the world’s biggest exporting countries do not sufficiently punish corporations who pay bribes. Some of the world’s largest exporters have not yet joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, including the world’s largest exporter in China, and also India, Singapore and Hong Kong, which each represent 2% of global exports. They are parties to the UN Convention against Corruption however.

Britain is among the 11 countries classed by Transparency International as actively or moderately enforcing an anti-corruption agenda, alongside Australia, Brazil, Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Four countries have declining levels of enforcement – Austria, Canada, Finland and South Korea.

An especially corrosive effect

The 33 countries classed as having ‘Limited’ or ‘Little or No Enforcement’ of anti-corruption laws represent approximately 52% of the world’s exports – China alone contributing 10.8%.

Della Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, said:

“It is unacceptable that so much of world trade is susceptible to consequence-free corruption. Governments have promised to implement and enforce laws against bribing foreign officials under the OECD and UN conventions. Yet many are not even investigating major cases of grand corruption, which involve state owned enterprises and senior politicians. These have an especially corrosive effect, and ultimately impact the ordinary citizens of the country the hardest.” 

Gillian Dell, author of the report, said:

Authorities not only need a strong legal framework for going after businesses that pay bribes abroad, but proper resources for the agencies responsible. In many countries, the courts, as well as investigators and prosecutors of cross-border corruption crimes, have inadequate means to do their job.” 

Taking corruption seriously matters

Taking corruption seriously matters and we at the Institute of Export & International Trade support all moves to ensure anti-bribery laws and conventions are effectively enforced in international trade, enabling a fairer basis for economic growth within developing nations and in global trade more generally.

We regularly run training courses for exporters looking to manage risks internationally while avoiding corrupt practices, entitled ‘Turning Risk into Opportunity in Export Markets Beyond the EU’.  We also ran introductory webinars on the subject as part of the Open to Export programme. You can watch a recording here.