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Most of Bangladesh’s leading international trade partners are worst performers in taking action against foreign bribery; TIB calls for stringent law enforcement

PRESS RELEASE

Dhaka, 13 October 2022. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed grave concern that most of the leading trade and investment partner countries of Bangladesh have been systematically failing to take action against bribery in international trade. Referring to a report released by the Berlin-based TI Secretariat on 11 October 2022, on “Exporting Corruption 2022: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention”, TIB calls upon the defaulting countries to address weaknesses in their relevant laws and ensure stringent enforcements. It has also alerted the Government of Bangladesh of the need to play its due role to be vigilant and take all preventive measures against corrupt deals in foreign trade and investment.

The biennial report assesses the performance of 47 leading global exporters of which 43 are parties to the OECD Anti-bribery Convention and four other leading global exporters, e.g., China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore. https://images.transparencycdn.org/images/2022_Report-Full_Exporting-Corruption_EN.pdf

Quoting the main findings of the report that 20 of the assessed countries which together account for nearly 40 percent of annual global exports have taken little or no enforcement action against foreign bribery during the period of the survey, Executive Director of TIB said, ‘what is most important for Bangladesh is that the defaulting countries include some of the top trade and investment partners of Bangladesh like India, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. This must be treated as an alarm bell for Bangladesh.’

Iftekharuzzaman said, ‘it is deeply disappointing that our trade and investment are so worryingly exposed to corruption due to continued failures of our partner countries, many of whom are ironically perceived to be ranked better than us as per most of the available internationally credible corruption indicators. We call upon them to practice what they preach, and ensure that their legal and institutional systems are strong and effective enough to be consistent with their international pledges. We expect them to be able to do everything in their capacity to ensure that their corruption is no longer exported to countries like ours.’

He further said, ‘on the other hand, TIB also strongly believes that Bangladesh doesn’t need to remain hostage to the failure of its trade and investment partners. We call upon our government to be robustly vigilant to ensure that all measures are taken to prevent corruption-driven illicit deals in our international trade and investment relations’.

The report has ranked only Switzerland and US as ‘active enforcers’, though far from perfect. Countries in the lowest performers category include Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey. Notable among the second worst category of ‘limited enforcers’ include Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Sweden, while those among ‘moderate enforcers’ are Australia, France, Germany, Norway and UK.

‘Overall, the report depicts a frustrating picture of the state of compliance of international commitments of countries that are expected to be global leaders in anti-corruption efforts’, the statement said.

 

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