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On June 16, 2021, Secretary Blinken announced on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration that we will soon begin updating and revitalizing the United States’ National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC).  The Administration recognizes the need for a whole-of-government process to focus, improve, and expand its efforts to promote RBC.

RBC is a broad concept based on the idea that businesses can perform well while doing good, and that governments should create and facilitate the conditions for it to take place.  The principles underlying this concept are encompassed in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises  and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights . They place importance on three aspects of the business-society relationship:

  1. Emphasizing and accentuating the positive contributions businesses can make to economic, environmental, social progress.
  2. Committing to robust due diligence efforts, including identifying and mitigating adverse impacts of business conduct, and remedying abuses where they occur.
  3. Ensuring businesses are aware of and complying with legal obligations within their supply chains both at home and overseas.

The effort will bring together the U.S. private sector, civil society groups, and workers’ organizations to promote RBC by U.S. businesses operating and investing abroad.  The last National Action Plan — the U.S. government’s first — was published on December 16, 2016.

We are updating the National Action Plan in light of the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting fair play, the rule of law, and high standards for global commerce in line with democratic values, which we cannot separate from our interests.  This includes supporting a foreign policy for the middle class by ensuring workers’ rights and a level playing field for the American worker; protecting the environment; combating the climate crisis; promoting rights-respecting technology deployment; and helping U.S. businesses to be global leaders in promoting respect for human rights and responsible conduct in the communities where they operate.

The revitalized National Action Plan will build upon the previous framework.  We will increase our commitment to coordinate and advance policies that promote responsible business conduct, and work with all stakeholders to reach our joint goals.

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U.S. Department of State

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