The Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions went into effect on 15 February 1999. It commits 34 signatory countries – all 30 OECD members and four non-members (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria and Chile) – to adopt common rules to punish companies and individuals who engage in bribery transactions.
The convention makes it a crime to offer, promise or give a bribe to a foreign public official in order to obtain or retain international business deals. A related text effectively puts an end to the practice of according tax deductibility for bribe payments made to foreign officials.
The Netherlands deposited its instrument of ratification on 12 January 2001 and Argentina on 8 February 2001. So far 21 countries have been subjected to close monitoring to determine the adequacy of their implementing legislation and the Working Group on Bribery has issued a report and evaluation for each country, which is available to the public. The 30 countries to have ratified the agreement are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.
• Spotlight on Corruption, in OECD Observer No 220, April 2000.
• No Longer Business as Usual: Fighting Bribery and Corruption, OECD, 2000.
©OECD Observer No 225, March 2001