[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[November 10, 1998]
[Page 2011]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the International Anti-Bribery and Fair Competition 
Act of 1998
November 10, 1998

    It is with great pleasure that I sign today S. 2375, the 
``International Anti-Bribery and Fair Competition Act of 1998.'' This 
Act makes certain changes in existing law to implement the Convention on 
Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business 
Transactions, which was negotiated under the auspices of the 
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The 
Convention was signed on December 17, 1997, by the United States and 32 
other nations. On July 31, 1998, the Senate gave its advice and consent 
to ratification of the Convention. With enactment of this bill, the 
United States is able to proceed with the deposit of its instrument of 
ratification, and it is my hope that the Convention will enter into 
force by the end of 1998, the target date established by OECD Ministers.
    The United States has led the effort to curb international bribery. 
We have long believed bribery is inconsistent with democratic values, 
such as good governance and the rule of law. It is also contrary to 
basic principles of fair competition and harmful to efforts to promote 
economic development. Since the enactment in 1977 of the Foreign Corrupt 
Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. businesses have faced criminal penalties if 
they engaged in business-related bribery of foreign public officials. 
Foreign competitors, however, did not have similar restrictions and 
could engage in this corrupt activity without fear of penalty. Moreover, 
some of our major trading partners have subsidized such activity by 
permitting tax deductions for bribes paid to foreign public officials. 
As a result, U.S. companies have had to compete on an uneven playing 
field, resulting in losses of international contracts estimated at $30 
billion per year.
    The OECD Convention--which represents the culmination of many years 
of sustained diplomatic effort--is designed to change all that. Under 
the Convention, our major competitors will be obligated to criminalize 
the bribery of foreign public officials in international business 
transactions. The existing signatories already account for a large 
percentage of international contracting, but they also plan an active 
outreach program to encourage other nations to become parties to this 
important instrument. The United States intends to work diligently, 
through the monitoring process to be established under the OECD, to 
ensure that the Convention is widely ratified and fully implemented. We 
will continue our leadership in the international fight against 
    Section 5 of S. 2375 is unrelated to the Convention. However, it can 
be implemented in a manner that advances U.S. objectives for the 
privatization of the international satellite organizations, and does not 
put the United States in breach of its obligations under international 

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

November 10, 1998.

Note: S. 2375, approved November 10, was assigned Public Law No. 105-