Corruption undermines the strength and integrity of the international trade and investment landscape, negatively impacting economic growth, investor confidence and the relationship between the public and private sectors.
A first for Australia in a trade agreement, the TPP contains provisions on anti-corruption measures, reflecting our commitment to combatting corruption and bribery in the region.
The 12 Parties to the TPP have committed to combat bribery and corruption in international trade and investment. The TPP Transparency and Anti-Corruption Chapter requires Parties to adopt or maintain domestic provisions which criminalise (and appropriately sanction) corrupt behaviour in matters that affect international trade or investment. Such behaviour includes promising, offering or giving a bribe to a public official, as well as soliciting or accepting a bribe by a public official when committed intentionally.
The TPP recognises that unreliable or false record-keeping is a key facilitator of corrupt practices. In order to further guard against corruption, Parties will adopt or maintain measures regarding the maintenance of books and records, financial statement disclosures and accounting and auditing standards.
The TPP encourages Parties to promote integrity, honesty and responsibility among its public officials and to adopt a range of related measures, including:
- training of individuals in public positions considered especially vulnerable to corruption;
- promoting transparency amongst officials in the exercise of their public functions;
- identifying and managing actual or potential conflicts of interests;
- requiring senior and other public officials to make public declarations on relevant matters including their outside investments, assets or gifts received; and
- facilitating reporting by public officials of corruption to appropriate authorities.
Parties will also endeavor to adopt or maintain codes or standards of conduct, together with appropriate disciplinary procedures, for the correct, honourable and proper performance of public functions. Recognising the importance of a strong and accountable judicial system, the TPP requires Parties to adopt or maintain measures to prevent corruption among members of the judiciary. Parties are also encouraged to consider adopting whistle-blower’s protection laws.
Recognising that both public and private sectors have a role to play in addressing corruption and bribery, TPP Parties affirm their commitment to adhere to the APEC Conduct Principles for Public Officials and encourage observance of the APEC Anti-corruption Code for Business: Business Integrity and Transparency Principles for the Private Sector. Parties will also take concrete measures to promote the participation of a broad range of individuals and groups outside the public sector in the fight against corruption. Private enterprises, civil society, non-government organisations and community-based organisations all have a role to play in preventing and combatting corruption, and raising public awareness of its existence and impact.
The TPP’s anti-corruption provisions will sit alongside TPP Parties’ existing obligations under the Convention Against Transnational and Organized Crime, Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. TPP Parties that have not already ratified or acceded to the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption are required to do so. The TPP Dispute Settlement Chapter applies to Most of the provisions of the TPP’s Transparency and Anti-corruption Chapter are subject to the TPP’s dispute settlement mechanism.