The 21 member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, account for 55 percent of global gross domestic product. APEC members also account for 43 percent of world trade and comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers. With so much at stake, it is critical for APEC members to work together to protect their economic prosperity by combating corruption in all its forms.
David Luna is the director for Anticrime Programs at the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. He urged APEC members to develop a regional anti-corruption architecture that would benefit developed and developing economies by expanding markets and ensuring cleaner forms of public and private governance for markets across the Asia-Pacific region. People all around the world are demanding greater openness in government and seeking ways to make their governments more transparent, responsive, and accountable.
APEC is addressing corruption through its Anticorruption and Transparency working group, or ACT, by working to deny safe haven to kleptocrats in the region, to bar their illicitly-acquired assets, and to give notice that continued theft from APEC economies will not be tolerated.
Depriving illicit networks of the profits and funding, said Mr. Luna, is one of the most effective ways to deter them. This requires a holistic, comprehensive anti-money laundering regime with the ability to trace, freeze, and seize assets related to illicit financial flows.
ACT is also taking a holistic approach to combat corruption and illicit trade to ensure integrity in global markets and supply chains and to sustain shared prosperity. Efforts are being ramped up to investigate and prosecute illicit actors who produce and sell harmful counterfeits such as counterfeit medicines. The United States will work with international partners to attack the financial underpinnings of transnational criminal organizations; strip them of their illicit wealth; and sever their access to the financial system.
Finally, when both public and private sectors work together, it creates a culture of integrity. The private sector can lead in ensuring that corruption does not corrode the foundations of an efficient and transparent market system. The United States is pleased to be working with its APEC partners to find new ways to combat corruption and ensure ethical conduct.