It is a pleasure to be here today co-chairing and opening the 6th meeting of the China-U.S. Anticorruption Working Group of the Joint Liaison Group (JLG ACWG).
I would like to applaud my Chinese co-Chair Director General KONG Xiangren, Foreign Affairs Department, Ministry of Supervision, P. R. China, and his colleagues, for hosting these meetings and the Business Anti-Bribery Roundtable.
Distinguished ACWG Colleagues and Invited Guests: The United States remains committed to enhancing our fruitful partnership with China on fighting corruption and crime.
In January of this year, Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao agreed to strengthen cooperation on combating transnational crime and corruption during their summit in Washington including our work under the China-U.S. Anticorruption Working Group of the Joint Liaison Group (JLG ACWG).
At the last Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton similarly reinforced a high-level commitment to combat transnational corruption and bribery and discussed ways to strengthen law enforcement cooperation, both bilaterally and globally.
In addition to the JLG ACWG, we have worked well together in numerous multilateral fora including APEC, the Group of 20, and in Vienna on the UN Conventions against Transnational Organized Crime and against Corruption.
We appreciate Chinese leadership in working with us to develop strong international frameworks to combat transnational crime and corruption, as well as to effectively implement these ground-breaking instruments.
Corruption can impede many of the priorities that we are jointly trying to pursue within our strategic bilateral cooperation framework and our mutually-shared interests globally.
Our efforts within the JLG Working Group on Anticorruption reinforce our collaborations in other multilateral fora to strengthen cooperation on anticorruption including the denial of safe haven, asset recovery, and mutual legal assistance.
For example, in the G20, our Leaders’ mandated that we develop recommendations for comprehensive and visible G20 anticorruption efforts that would reflect our countries’ mutual decision to lead by example. We have enjoyed working closely with China in the working group that the Leaders established to develop the recommendations, including by building on areas where we already have a good dialogue, such as asset recovery, transnational bribery, and UNCAC review.
The U.S. is one of the first countries being reviewed under the UNCAC review of implementation mechanism. Several months ago, we hosted an UNCAC team to review the United States, encouraged the reviewers to consult broadly with stakeholders such as business and civil society, and have agreed to authorize publication of our full report.
In one of our prior meetings we discussed having a session or meeting to share our experience, given that China will be reviewed in the fourth year of the first round, and we would be interested to further pursue that idea in the coming year.
In APEC, the United States is committed to work with our APEC partners to develop communities of integrity that can nurture institutions to fight corruption, improve accountability and transparency, and promote more vibrant governance systems across the Pacific. In Yokohama last year, APEC leaders agreed to leverage collective action to combat corruption and illicit trade by promoting clean government, fostering integrity in markets and supply chains, and dismantling transnational illicit networks, including by combating bribery of foreign government officials and ensuring a business environment free of corruption.
Combating transnational bribery is another area in which we hope for more fruitful cooperation, including via this important anti-bribery ACWG Roundtable.
Bribery in international business, both on the part of companies bribing government officials, and officials demanding bribes to grant firms licenses, permits, or business deals, undermines free and fair competition and perpetuates a culture of corruption.
Through our joint efforts in APEC and the G20, a commitment to effectively fight transnational bribery around the world is key to ensuring integrity in global markets and supply chains and critical to sustaining not only our shared prosperity but to protecting the market reputations and brand names of internationally-recognized products of both U.S. and China companies.
The U.S. applauds China’s recent efforts to prevent foreign bribery by amending its Criminal Code. The ultimate effectiveness of the amendment in preventing foreign bribery, however, will depend on enforcement. We look forward to working with our Chinese counterparts to help stand up enforcement and compliance programs in pursuant to the anti-foreign bribery commitments, and we encourage greater participation by China in the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions.
Now our leaders have taken notice of this strong record of cooperation. But we must enhance our joint work to new areas that will help to provide a visible platform for our collective action on combating corruption and bribery internationally.
Earlier this morning in Washington, D.C., the White House released the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. Breaking the corruptive power of transnational illicit networks globally will be a key area of focus for the United States and we will work with international partners to attack the financial underpinnings of transnational criminal organizations; strip them of their illicit wealth; and sever their access to the financial system. We will also expose criminal activities hidden behind legitimate fronts; investigate cases in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and protect strategic markets and the integrity of the global financial system.
Working together, the U.S. and China can set an example in leading efforts to prevent and combat corruption and bribery internationally including through the APEC Anticorruption and Transparency Working Group (ACT), the G20 Anticorruption Working Group, and processes related to the UNCAC and UNTOC, and other multilateral fora – while strengthening integrity and promoting responsible governance across the region.
I look forward to the discussion this morning, and over the next two days, enhancing our understanding of China’s system, legal processes, and training related to the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of corruption, and its commitment to combating foreign bribery.
It is a great honor now to introduce General Counsel Cameron Kerry, U.S. Department of Commerce.