On March 22, 2011, DOC General Counsel Kerry spoke at a symposium titled “Toward Coherence in International Economic Law: Perspectives at the 50th Anniversary of the OECD” regarding the Administration’s work in promoting ethical conduct by international businesses. The symposium took place in Washington, DC, and was sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the American Society of International Law, and the George Washington International Law Review, in cooperation with the International Law Students Association.
In his remarks, General Counsel Kerry highlighted the work of the Department of Commerce and other U.S. agencies to fight corruption in international business transactions, noting President Obama’s linking of corruption, human rights, and well being, and Secretary Locke’s views about corruption as a barrier to U.S. economic growth. He discussed the Justice Department’s emphasis on enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Commerce Department’s engagement with the private sector, his upcoming trip to Doha for a regional conference on integrity in the private sector put on by the Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program, and Commerce’s work (with the Departments of State and Justice) in pressing foreign governments to enact and enforce strong anti-bribery laws. He was joined on the panel by Assistant Secretary of State Jose Fernandez and NGO and private sector representatives.
General Counsel Kerry said: “This Administration is dedicated to striking the right balance between fostering commerce and promoting good conduct by the business community. I don’t see this as a trade-off. I think we can have both, and that we should have both. We will keep striving to have both.”