print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > November 2004

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 21, 2004

Fact Sheet: Fighting Corruption, Ensuring Transparency
U.S. Actions at the APEC Leaders' Meeting

"[W]e believe every nation is capable of fighting corruption, is capable of putting good economic policies in place. . . . Developing nations have responded . . . by fighting corruption . . . and passing new laws that reward enterprise from their people."

President George W. Bush - November 20, 2004

Presidential Action

Today, President Bush and other APEC leaders took a determined step in fighting corruption throughout the APEC region by launching the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency and the APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency. They also commenced the APEC Anticorruption and Transparency Capacity Building Program to help developing economies meet their anticorruption commitments.

Fighting Corruption in APEC: Proposed by the United States together with Chile and South Korea, the Santiago Commitment and the Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency commit APEC members to:

  • Deny safe haven to officials and individuals guilty of corruption, those who corrupt them, and their assets
  • Implement anticorruption policies and practices consistent with the UN Convention Against Corruption
  • Implement the APEC Transparency Standards, with particular emphasis on government procurement and customs procedures
  • Encourage collaboration to fight corruption and ensure transparency, including through cooperation with other multilateral and regional intergovernmental institutions
  • Develop innovative training and technical assistance programs to fight corruption and ensure transparency

Assisting Developing Economies in Fighting Corruption: President Bush joined leaders from Australia, Chile, China, Japan, and South Korea in helping APEC developing economies fight corruption through the newly-established Anticorruption and Transparency (ACT) Capacity Building Program. This program provides assistance to help APEC developing economies achieve the anticorruption commitments announced today. In support of this initiative, the United States will contribute $2.5 million over four years, and add a regional APEC Anticorruption Advisor to assist APEC's efforts in promoting the rule of law and a culture of integrity.

Background -- Presidential Leadership in Fighting Corruption: Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development, according to the World Bank. The direct costs of bribery alone to national economies are estimated to be over one trillion dollars each year. Today's actions by APEC members, led by the United States, build upon President Bush's leadership in implementing a robust international transparency and anticorruption agenda, including:

  • Denying safe haven to corrupt officials
  • Launching the Millennium Challenge Account that provides U.S. development assistance to those countries that fight corruption, rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom
  • Launching the G-8 Sea Island Fighting Corruption and Improving Transparency Initiative (promoting high standards of transparency in public financial management, procurement, the letting of public concessions, and the granting of licenses)
  • Leading international efforts to gain agreement on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
  • Strengthening the OECD monitoring of the Anti-Bribery Convention Initiating and supporting the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity process