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Ethics and Anti-Corruption

A rigorous anti-corruption regime is a critical aspect for attracting trade and investment in foreign markets. CLDP assists foreign partners to align their laws and practices with existing international agreements and best practices that maximize transparency and minimize opportunities for corruption. The scope of this assistance has increased in recent years at the behest of U.S. Embassies concerned with market access barriers caused by corruption. CLDP designs and delivers these programs within the U.S. Government interagency framework, which has long emphasized anti-corruption activities as an essential element of technical assistance. By reducing corruption, these activities also expand markets for U.S. export, strengthen ethical business conduct, and level the playing field for American and in-country, domestic businesses.

CLDP’s initiatives to fight overseas corruption have taken four main forms:

  • fostering anti-corruption cultures and enforcement capacity in the public sector
  • promoting corporate governance and ethical business cultures
  • enhancing transparency in public procurement
  • increasing compliance with the transparency notification requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

Fostering Anti-Corruption Cultures and Enforcement Capacity in the Public Sector

CLDP works with partner countries to improve the level of transparency in laws, regulations, agreements, and practices that affect business or trade. This assistance helps to foster anti-corruption cultures in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, and builds enforcement capabilities within the public sector. CLDP promotes transparency in government processes by holding inclusive consultations on legislative drafting, by assisting partner governments adopt and implement notice and comment procedures for policy-setting and rulemaking, and by aiding in the development of policies and procedures for freedom of information requests. CLDP enhances government accountability through skills trainings that build the institutional capacity of regulatory bodies to conduct audits and investigations, through guidance on ethics policies and financial disclosure statements for government officials and workers, and through assistance with streamlining administrative procedures for granting permits and licenses that obviate administrative steps that enable exacting bribes. Ethics, integrity, and fairness are emphasized in CLDP’s judicial programming, which also focuses on efficiency and transparency in court administration.

Promoting Corporate Governance and Ethical Business Cultures

CLDP supports both public and private sector stakeholders in their efforts to limit unethical business conduct through corporate governance frameworks. Unethical business conduct undermines consumer trust, creates unfair business conditions, stifles innovation and investment, and leads to divergent standards across borders. This conduct ultimately contributes to curtailed trade and the increased cost and legal risk of doing business. CLDP trains private sector companies to develop corporate governance frameworks and implement corporate practices that attract capital for investment and growth. CLDP assists foreign government counterparts to develop and implement mechanisms that incentivize, promote, and facilitate the widespread use of best practices in corporate governance and ethics in the public and private sectors. Introducing corporate governance and ethics rules and requirements in state-owned enterprises, for example, help make those enterprises more competitive and efficient and reduces opportunities for corruption.

Enhancing Transparency in Public Procurement

Transparency, efficiency, and good governance are necessary prerequisites to effective public procurement systems. In many developing countries, the government remains the largest employer and buyer of goods and services. When done effectively, public procurement provides reliable income and promotes economic development. When not properly regulated and controlled, government procurement can serve as a focal point for systemic inefficiency, corruption, and loss of market share for international companies. CLDP assists partner countries develop efficient, transparent, and impartial government contracting infrastructures. CLDP’s public procurement programs address accession to, and compliance with, international government procurement agreements, including the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. CLDP also provides capacity building support in implementing legislative and regulatory frameworks that are based on internationally accepted principles for government tendering.

Increasing Compliance with Notification Requirements

CLDP’s engagement in transparency initiatives around the globe includes assisting partner countries meet the transparency notification requirements of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). In coordination with the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, CLDP collaborates closely with host country governments to improve their respective interagency coordination and publication practices. As a result of CLDP’s assistance, several countries have successfully completed and submitted their respective TFA Article 1.4 Transparency Notifications to the WTO that identifies relevant trade-related information across ministerial websites. This increased transparency enhances accessibility to trade-related information, improves the efficiency of cross-border trade, and results in reduced costs in two-way trade. Supporting robust transparency initiatives such as the TFA notifications encourages trade, while simultaneously increasing clarity about import and export procedures, thereby diminishing the potential for corruption.