Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concern over the continued and disappointing failure of Bangladesh's foreign trade partners in taking effective action against bribery abroad.
Mentioning a research titled "Exporting Corruption 2020: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention", conducted by the Berlin-based TI Secretariat, published on Tuesday (13 October), the TIB urged the government to be careful about the risk of massive losses, including money laundering, which is on the rise.
It also called on foreign trade partners to strengthen their commitments, their own laws and their enforcement.
Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, said, "It is very disappointing that the world's top exporters have failed miserably in fulfilling their international commitments to stop bribery abroad. Many of the weakest countries in the list of countries that have failed to take effective action, including China, Japan, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico, are also Bangladesh's largest trading and investment partners."
"Therefore, we warn the government, foreign trade agencies and all other stakeholders to take strict anti-corruption measures in foreign trade and investment. On the other hand, we call on the diplomatic missions and other representatives of countries that are committed to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Convention against Bribery to take specific steps against foreign bribery," he said.
According to the report, half of the G-20 countries are alarmingly weak in enforcing laws against foreign bribery. This proves that very few of the world's top exporters are taking effective investigations and disciplinary action against companies that trade bribes abroad.
It said that active law enforcement against foreign bribery has been alarmingly decreased since 2018. During this time, the number of top exporting countries taking strict and effective measures against foreign bribery and money laundering has dropped by more than one-third.
Of the 47 countries mentioned in the study, only four countries, which control 16.5 percent of the world's export trade, have effectively enforced laws against foreign bribery.
But in 2018, there were seven such countries that controlled 27 percent of the total global export trade. In fact, 34 of the 47 countries have not implemented the law in practice.
China, the world's largest exporter, failed to launch a single investigation into foreign bribery between 2016 and 2019 although there are several allegations of anomalies against some Chinese companies and many countries are investigating them.
Between 2016 and 2019, India and Hong Kong, two other countries outside the OECD also did not conduct a single investigation against foreign bribery.