March 7, 2017
On 7th March, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Anti-Corruption organised a panel discussion on "Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity" at the House of Commons. Under discussion was a report published by the APPG at the end of 2016 which addressed the question "How can UK businesses be better supported to manage corruption risk in high-growth markets?".
The session was chaired by Nigel Mills MP, co-chair of the APPG and Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the ICC UK, was the key-note speaker. Panellists were Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director-General of the Institute of Export and International Trade, Peter Van Veen, Programme Director, TI (pictured above), Jonathan Wheatcroft, Director, Forensic Services, PwC, and Brook Horowitz, CEO, IBLF Global.
Already before the Brexit vote, the UK Government had been targeting high-growth markets as priority destinations for exports. In particular, one of the aims of the Export 2020 drive was to increase the number of SMEs exporting. However corruption in many of these markets acts as a serious disincentive to companies, especially those exporting for the first time.
The APPG's report, to which IBLF Global contributed, recommends:
• Improved coordination of existing government guidance on corruption issues and risk management in high-growth markets;
• Guidance framed specifically to match exporters’ needs, especially SMEs';
• More accessible, strategically coherent and better integrated guidance and sign-posting for companies;
• Provision of basic due diligence support for exporting SMEs;
• Development of networks of anti-corruption expertise and formal information sharing between businesses, especially SMEs, NGOs, the UK government and other governments in priority export markets.
IBLF Global suggestion to Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity includes, "the creation of a network of Anti-Corruption Action Centres in the major export markets. These locally run, independent groups would be specialised on promoting anti-corruption and Collective Action amongst local business and government. But they would also have the in-house expertise and local knowledge to provide most of the advisory service required by British companies."
The report also recommends the Government increase funding for law enforcement by the Serious Fraud Office and publish a register of debarred companies.
Full text of the report and the annex with IBLF Global’s contribution can be found on the APPG website.