In 1997 and 2003, international conventions sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the UN, respectively, came into force, requiring signatories to amend their domestic laws along lines similar to America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.The OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions went into effect in 1999. It has its roots in a corruption scandal involving the United States and Japan in the 1970s, and is primarily aimed at eliminating “facilitation payments” in pursuit of business.
The Convention is important because its signatories account for most of the world’s exports and foreign investment.Parties to the Convention are obliged to adopt legislation making it a crime to bribe foreign public officials, whether directly or through intermediaries, and establish corporate liability for foreign bribery.
Signatories to the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials include all 30 OECD countries -
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States
- and eight non-OECD countries -
Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Estonia, Israel, Slovenia and South Africa.
The U.S. was, until recently, the only nation that had a significant track record of anti-foreign bribery enforcement; but now other nations are demonstrating a new interest in foreign anti-corruption enforcement. Indeed, Transparency International has praised fifteen countries, in addition to the U.S., for having made “significant enforcement” efforts.In many developing countries it is ordinarily not possible for foreign companies to operate effectively without paying bribes to justice/law enforcement system officials.
For more information on the OECD's work in fighting bribery and corruption click here
The Role of the OECD and EU Conventions in Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials