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Statement from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on International Anti-Corruption Day

Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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Office of Public Affairs, 202-482-4883

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today issued the following statement on International Anti-Corruption Day. 

“On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day, I want to take a moment to underscore the importance to me and to the Commerce Department of combating transnational bribery and corruption for both U.S. businesses and global economic growth.
“As Commerce Secretary, I talk to business leaders every day about the challenges they face when operating abroad. And as someone who spent 27 years in the private sector, I understand the conditions that are required to run a business or make an investment. 
“Make no mistake: bribery and corruption are trade barriers that hinder investment and drag down economic growth. 
“Bribery and corruption are costly, not only to businesses, but also to host countries, robbing millions of hardworking citizens of the gains of economic development. The World Bank estimates that bribery costs the global economy $1 trillion dollars a year. This unnecessary burden amounts to a tax on global GDP where revenues go to corrupt officials rather than projects and services to benefit a country’s citizens. 
“Businesses considering investments abroad look for environments that are transparent and governed by the rule of law. I have traveled widely on commercial diplomacy missions where I talk about the importance of transparency and rule of law both as a means to create a favorable investment climate for U.S. businesses and for host countries to retain public income for development and economic growth. 
“The battle against corruption is one where the private sector and public leaders from around the world are aligned, and we stand with our partners in the fight. President Obama and the U.S. Government continue to drive a robust agenda to stem corruption and hold accountable those who exploit the public trust for private gain. President Obama and other APEC Leaders recently adopted APEC Principles on the Prevention of Bribery and Enforcement of Anti-Bribery Laws, and APEC General Elements of Effective Voluntary Corporate Compliance Programs. We and the other members of the G20 in the most recent G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan commit to lead by example in combating bribery and to helping to end impunity for corruption offenses consistent with our obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on asset recovery and international cooperation. Finally, we are also working shoulder to shoulder with our partners in the OECD Working Group on Bribery to ensure full implementation of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and strong enforcement of foreign bribery laws, which has had a significant impact in the fight against global corruption.  
“Unfortunately, corruption is an elusive foe, and there is still much work to be done. 
“On this International Anticorruption Day, we commit to redouble our own efforts and to work with our trading partners, the private sector, and civil society to strengthen our combined resolve in combating corruption. Together, let’s continue to work toward a global economy where businesses can compete on a level playing field with each other, based on the merits of their goods and services, without corruption as a trade barrier.”