Policy

Reducing corruption in international trade

Issue

Independent studies including the 11th Global Fraud Survey by Ernst & Young and Confronting Corruption by Price Waterhouse Cooper have shown that UK business is losing out overseas because of other companies’ bribery and corruption.

Bribery and corruption are barriers to trade and growth. Overseas corruption makes it harder – and more expensive – for UK firms to do business abroad.

Actions

We’ve strengthened the law. The Bribery Act 2010 came into force on 1 July 2011. It created a number of new offences:

  • bribing a foreign official
  • giving or promising an advantage
  • receiving, requesting, or agreeing to receive an advantage
  • failure of a company to stop a bribe being paid on its behalf

We’ve issued practical advice and guidance on bribery overseas for UK companies. This includes guidance on procedures to prevent bribery and guidance from the Serious Fraud Office on how they might prosecute.

The UK is also a part of:

We also sponsor a website on dealing with international corruption.

The UK is also helping developing countries to improve their investment climate and participate in international trade through enhanced business regulation.

Background

Many of our trading partners – including China and Russia - are now passing laws against foreign corruption. Canada had its first foreign bribery case in 2011. Australia had its first prosecution in 2012.

We brought in the Bribery Act 2010 to support international trade by encouraging free and fair competition in business.

Who we’re working with

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) can help businesses with information about corruption and bribery issues in more than 90 countries.

Transparency International UK (TI UK) provides independent, impartial training and advice based on extensive knowledge of good practice in the anti-corruption field.

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