Combating bribery in US$1.5 trillion export credit market requires stronger action by agencies
As key drivers in the economic recovery process, export credit agencies (ECAs) must strengthen their enforcement of anti-bribery measures and build on progress made in the last 10 years, according to a new report from Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organisation.
The global economic crisis and subsequent credit crunch have shown the importance of export credit agencies, which underwrote more than US $1.5 trillion in transactions in 2008, contributing to the recovery. In 2009, the Group of 20 committed US$250 billion to ECAs and multilateral development banks to spur economic activity.
The OECD introduced mandatory anti-bribery policies 10 years ago and adopted detailed measures in 2006. Now most ECAs have formal anti-bribery policies in place, but the TI report, Export Credit Agencies Anti-Bribery Practices 2010, which surveyed 14 export credit agencies from 13 OECD countries, found significant differences in implementation and approaches.
“Good progress has been made at many export credit agencies. While there is still much work to be done, we now have plenty of best practice examples that should be replicated across the world,” said Marcela Rozo, Programme Manager, Public Contracting at TI.
The TI report identifies key areas for improvement, highlighting good practices that should be replicated by others. These include:
- A more formal, structured approach for advancing anti-bribery commitments, including designating senior management oversight of implementation
- Training ECA staff on anti-bribery policy and how to implement it;
- Stepped-up outreach to the private sector and practical support for exporter anti-bribery efforts;
- Requiring companies whose exports they support to have internal programmes for preventing bribery
- Strengthening due diligence review practices
“Proper staff training, meaningful due diligence and effective management controls help to prevent and detect bribery, which in turn ensures that both exporting and importing countries get the most value for their money,” said Rozo.
Governments should use all possible opportunities to publicly report on their ECA’s anti-corruption efforts.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
The TI report contains findings and illustrative practices for 14 export credit agencies from: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Slovakia, Republic of Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The report builds and expands on the OECD’s annual survey on Measures Taken to Combat Bribery in Officially Supported Export Credits (2009). TI will issue benchmark recommendations based on this report and will monitor progress through a follow-up survey.