The international community has assigned a high priority to the fight against corruption and bribery. In the area of government-sponsored export credits and guarantees, the OECD adopted its Action Statement on Bribery and Officially Supported Export Credits in 2006 and upgraded it to Recommendation status by the end of that year.
A major aim of the Recommendation is to raise anti-bribery awareness in international business transactions. Exporters/applicants are encouraged to apply appropriate management control systems to prevent bribery.
Export credit agencies (ECAs) are called on to strengthen their efforts to combat bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions benefiting from official export credit support and to implement certain additional measures.
The main enhancements and additions brought by the OECD Recommendation are
- Requiring exporters/applicants to disclose whether they or anyone acting on their behalf are currently charged with or have been convicted in the last five years for bribing foreign public officials.
- Verifying whether the exporter/applicant is listed on the publicly available debarment lists of defined international financial institutions (such as the World Bank Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development).
- Undertaking enhanced due diligence if the exporter/applicant has been debarred by an international financial institution, is charged with bribery, or has been convicted of bribery in the past or if there are reasons to believe that bribery may be involved in the transaction.
- This could include requiring further information in the case of a debarment, conviction or charge or, where appropriate, requiring details about commissions (recipient, amount, purpose).
- In the case of conviction, verifying that the exporter/applicant has taken internal corrective and preventative measures before new export credit support could be provided again.
The OECD Recommendation took effect at the beginning of 2007.
Essentially, for exporters/applicants, the new measures mean that additional questions concerning debarment or conviction/charge have to be answered on the application form. For export credit agencies, they mean that additional information must be taken into account when handling an application for cover.
The existing measures remain unaffected.
ECAs are to
- inform the law enforcement authorities if there is suspicion that bribery was involved in the award of the export contract, and
- deny cover or indemnification if bribery was involved in the award.