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Combatting Corruption And Illicit Trade

APEC leaders have recognized the importance of fighting corruption and promoting transparency.

“Free and open trade and investment . . . cannot be achieved without addressing the urgent need for greater transparency, good governance, and strong anti-corruption measures,” said Robert Wang, U.S. Senior Official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, at the recent APEC Pathfinder Dialogue in Bangkok, Thailand.

Combatting Corruption And Illicit Trade
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Since the endorsement of the APEC Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency in 2004, APEC leaders have recognized how fighting corruption and promoting transparency are critical to sustaining economic development, growth, and prosperity.

APEC’s 2012 Vladivostok Declaration recognized that corruption and illicit trade “cost APEC economies jobs and vital tax revenue; corrode the integrity of legitimate supply chains; endanger the welfare, health and safety of our families and communities; and harm the economic interests of our businesses and markets.”

“We have further recognized that corruption fuels and facilitates illicit trade flows that may account for an estimated 15-20% of global trade,” Mr. Wang said. “Corruption and illicit trade - including the trafficking of people, wildlife, drugs, and weapons, as well as counterfeiting, money laundering, and associated environmental crimes - divert revenue from legitimate businesses to transnational criminal networks that threaten the stability, security, and prosperity of our economies.”

“Given the often transnational, cross-border nature of illicit trade, we must partner together to protect our national assets, human capital, and natural resources, including through initiatives that promote economic growth and sustainable futures,” Mr. Wang continued. “No economy is immune to corruption. And no single economy can prevent or combat corruption alone.”

The APEC Pathfinder Dialogue is about building partnerships, expanding and strengthening networks, and leveraging expertise and capacities to improve APEC’s collective ability to combat illicit networks, both domestically and internationally.

“The time is ripe for us to identify channels and mechanisms for strengthening cooperation between anti-corruption authorities and law enforcement authorities focused on money laundering, human trafficking, and wildlife trafficking/environmental crime,” Mr. Wang said. “Let us realize our economic and social potential through partnerships that take a holistic approach to address corruption and illicit trade and more effectively protect our national assets, human capital, and natural resources.”