U.S. Hopes Anti-Bribery Accord Will Improve Commerce

The extent to which an accord crafted by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development actually curbs bribery in international business transactions remains to be seen. Still, the U.S. supports the agreement, with the expectation that other major trading nations will do the same and level at least one section of the international-trade playing field. Since the early days of the Carter Administration, U.S. firms have been barred from paying bribes to gain foreign contracts, a prohibition they claim has put them at a competitive disadvantage. "For more than 20 years the United States has enforced our anti-bribery legislation while other countries have given tax deductions to companies for their bribes, " notes U.S. Commerce Secretary William M. Daley. "Under this [agreement], our trading partners will enact prohibitions that will end this practice."

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