1998 Congressional Hearings
Intelligence and Security


Finance Subcommittee Hearing on Bliley-Oxley Bill

WASHINGTON (July 15) -- House Commerce Committee Chairman U.S. Rep.
Tom Bliley (R-VA) is today scheduled to deliver the following
statement at a House Commerce Finance and Hazardous Materials
Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 4353, the International Anti-Bribery and
Fair Competition Act of 1998:

"Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend you for holding this important
hearing. You have been a leader on international issues in general and
a strong advocate for free trade in particular. The legislation which
you and I have cosponsored, and which the Committee is considering
today, is designed to open markets overseas by implementing an
international convention which I think we both hope will go a long way
toward promoting transparency and fair competition.

"Our legislation, the International Anti-Bribery and Fair Competition
Act of 1998, contains the changes to our laws necessary to implement
the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials.

"I believe that this Convention will help fight bribery and level the
playing field for American companies. I congratulate our government
officials, and Secretary Daley in particular, for their role in
negotiating this important agreement. It has been achieved as a result
of the hard work of officials in both Republican and Democratic
Administrations, and was worth the wait.

"Our nation already has one of the strongest anti-bribery laws in the
world. American business claims that this puts them at a disadvantage
since other nations do not have strong laws against bribery. Some have
even made it tax deductible!

"The critical issue with respect to the Convention is convincing other
nations to put their no-longer tax deductible money where there mouth

"It is my understanding that the Administration believes that we need
to lead the way in order to get others to follow. To date, only
Bulgaria has ratified the Convention and even they have not completed
the process by depositing their documents with the OECD.

"It was my hope in introducing this legislation that we will be taking
an important step forward in creating a fairer and more open
international business environment. American business and workers, the
most competitive and productive in the world, will be the biggest
beneficiaries of fair and open competition.

Still, we will need to look carefully to make sure other nations live
up to their obligations. That is why we have added a reporting
requirement to the legislation. Our bill will require the
Administration to report annually, beginning on July 1 of next year,
on other nations' implementation and enforcement efforts.

"Thus the bill before us today eliminates barriers to competition
resulting from both foreign corruption as well as from unfair and
inappropriate privileges and immunities.

"American companies have been at a disadvantage for far too long due
to lax bribery laws in other nations. We need to work to bring other
nations up to an equal standard with our own.

"Merit, not bribery, should determine who wins business and the
resulting jobs for American workers. Overseas contracts should go to
the best competitors, not the biggest bribers.

"I would like to thank our witnesses for appearing here today and
appreciate the time and effort they and their colleagues have devoted
to this vital issue."

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