EB's Work on Transparency, Governance, and Anti-Corruption

As part of its efforts to support global economic growth and stability, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) recognizes the critical linkages between transparency, governance, and fighting corruption. Corruption undermines U.S. interests in a variety of ways: by impeding global development, damaging the quality of governance and public confidence in institutions, and distorting international competitive conditions to the detriment of U.S. companies. EB, in close cooperation with other bureaus in the Department of State and U.S. government agencies, leads the Department in a number of crucial areas, such as fiscal transparency to improve government accountability; enlisting others in the fight against foreign bribery, including through promoting adherence to the Anti-Bribery Convention; promoting responsible business conduct; fighting graft in development assistance and public procurement; and seeking stronger disciplines on transparency and anticorruption in our trade agreements.

• The Office of Monetary Affairs leads the fight against bribery of foreign officials in international business, including as head of the U.S. delegation to the OECD Working Group on Bribery, which monitors implementation of the Anti-Bribery Convention. OMA also works with less developed countries to address weaknesses in public financial management highlighted in the Congressionally-mandated Fiscal Transparency Report, and provides targeted assistance through the Fiscal Transparency Innovation Fund. It also leads EB’s efforts on the Partnership on Illicit Finance.

• The Office of Bilateral Trade Affairs seeks to embed strong anti-corruption provisions in new U.S. trade agreements, while the Office of Multilateral Trade Affairs encourages other countries to sign the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement, designed to make laws and practices on such procurement more transparent and non-discriminatory to foreign suppliers. Both offices have worked to include government procurement, transparency, and anti-corruption provisions in trade agreements, most recently in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

• The Office of Commercial and Business Affairs, within strict anti-corruption guidelines established by the Department of Commerce, provides and coordinates advocacy for U.S. firms doing business overseas, provides assistance to U.S. firms seeking help with business challenges abroad, and encourages transparency and adherence to the rule of law.

• The Office of Development Finance strongly supports the anti-corruption efforts of the multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the procurement controls intended to reduce the risk of graft in procurements financed by their lending and grants, as well as programs financed by the MDBs to help developing countries improve the efficiency, fairness, and transparency of their public procurement.

• The Office of Investment Affairs, through its efforts to improve investment climates, investment opportunities, and business registration globally, encourages the adoption of measures that both increase transparency and reduce corruption overseas.

• The Responsible Business Conduct team in the Office of Economic Policy Analysis and Public Diplomacy provides guidance and support for responsible business practices through engagement with a range of stakeholders, and through promoting the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, a comprehensive set of recommendations on responsible business conduct, including issues such combating bribery, disclosure, human rights, labor rights, and more. The team also houses the U.S. National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines and runs a dispute resolution mechanism to help promote responsible business conduct. And the office coordinates the annual Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence, given out to U.S. companies demonstrating high standards in their global operations.

• The Counter Threat Finance and Sanctions (TFS) team works in conjunction with other bureaus within the Department of State, Department of Treasury, Department of Commerce, and others to coordinate the development and implementation of sanctions regimes adopted to counter threats to national security posed by particular activities and countries. In addition, TFS advances policies that seek to minimize the funding available to a variety of groups that pose a threat to domestic, international, and regional security.

For more information:
OECD Anti-Corruption Resources
OECD Working Group on Bribery
The IMF and Good Governance
CRS Report: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Resource Guide
International Budget Partnership
Transparency International