View Header


                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Palo Alto, California)
For Immediate Release                                        May 1, 1998


With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, I transmit herewith the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions (the "Convention"), adopted at Paris on November 21, 1997, by a conference held under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Convention was signed in Paris on December 17, 1997, by the United States and 32 other nations.

I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, interpretive Commentaries on the Convention, adopted by the negotiating conference in conjunction with the Convention, that are relevant to the Senate's consideration of the Convention. I transmit also, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Department of State with respect to the Convention.

Since the enactment in 1977 of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the United States has been alone in specifically criminalizing the business-related bribery of foreign public officials. United States corporations have contended that this has put them at a significant disadvantage in competing for international contracts with respect to foreign competitors who are not subject to such laws. Consistent with the sense of the Congress, as expressed in the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, encouraging negotiation of an agreement within the OECD governing the type of behavior that is prohibited under the FCPA, the United States has worked assiduously within the OECD to persuade other countries to adopt similar legislation. Those efforts have resulted in this Convention that once in force, will require that the Parties enact laws to criminalize the bribery of foreign public officials to obtain or retain business or other improper advantage in the conduct of international business.

While the Convention is largely consistent with existing U.S. law, my Administration will propose certain amendments to the FCPA to bring it into conformity with and to implement the Convention. Legislation will be submitted separately to the Congress.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention, and that it give its advice and consent to ratification.


                                   THE WHITE HOUSE,
                                   May 1, 1998.

# # #