Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed grave concern that most leading trade and investment partner countries of Bangladesh have systematically failed to take action against bribery in international trade.
The watchdog has called upon erring countries to address weaknesses in their relevant laws and ensure stringent enforcement.
It has also alerted the Bangladesh government of the need to play its due role to be vigilant and take all preventive measures against corrupt deals in foreign trade and investment, said a press release.
On 11 October 2022, the Berlin-based Transparency International Secretariat released a report titled "Exporting Corruption 2022: Assessing Enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention".
The biennial report assessed the performance of 47 leading global exporters. Among them 43 are party to the OECD Anti-bribery Convention, including four leading global exporters – China, India, Hong Kong and Singapore.
As per the report, 20 of the assessed countries, which together account for nearly 40% of annual global exports, have taken little or no enforcement action against foreign bribery during the period of the survey.
Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, said, "What is most important for Bangladesh is that countries at fault include some of the top trade and investment partners of Bangladesh, like India, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. This must be treated as an alarm bell for Bangladesh."
"It is deeply disappointing that our trade and investment are so worryingly exposed to corruption due to continued failures of our partner countries, many of whom are ironically perceived to be ranked better than us by most of the available internationally credible corruption indicators."
"We call upon them to practice what they preach, and to ensure that their legal and institutional systems are strong and effective enough to be consistent with their international pledges. We expect them to be able to do everything in their capacity to ensure their corruption is no longer exported to countries like ours,' the TIB executive director said.
He said, "TIB strongly believes Bangladesh does not need to remain hostage to the failure of its trade and investment partners. We call upon our government to be robustly vigilant to ensure all measures are taken to prevent corruption-driven illicit deals in our international trade and investment relations."
The report ranked only Switzerland and US as 'active enforcers', though far from perfect. Countries in the lowest performers category include Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia and Turkey.
Notable among the second worst category of 'limited enforcers' include Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Sweden, while Australia, France, Germany, Norway and UK are among the 'moderate enforcers'.