Summit Preview: Addressing the Challenges Posed by Corruption in Emerging Markets

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Corruption is a problem that is as old as mankind. It has long been recognized as an obstacle to many countries’ development and economic growth. Moreover, it is a significant hurdle to overcome for companies doing business in the global marketplace. The problem has been particularly acute in emerging markets. Increasingly, however, key developing countries are coming to the realization that effective anti-corruption measures are an important factor in their integrating into the global business community, becoming more attractive to foreign direct investment, and achieving or sustaining goals of economic growth and expansion. As world commerce expands and global trade barriers are relaxed, anti-corruption efforts are being undertaken worldwide—even in those countries that posed the most troublesome problems in that regard in the past. Countries around the world are adopting new laws, more vigorously enforcing existing laws, and refining regulations to fight bribery, corruption, and fraud. Moreover, enforcement authorities from various nations are cooperating with one another to an unprecedented degree. Still, the scourge of corruption lingers. Corrupt actors are becoming more sophisticated and the problem is not likely to ever be completely eradicated.

Companies operating globally have to negotiate a maze of anti-corruption legal schemes that may be conflicting and anticipate parallel enforcement efforts. They have to be aware of laws with broad extraterritorial reach such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom Bribery Act as well as local laws in the multiple jurisdictions where they do business. Needless to say, this environment poses compliance challenges for global business.

These important issues will be addressed in detail by two prominent anti-corruption experts at the upcoming MAPI Executive Summit “Building Tomorrow’s Solutions Today” in Chicago, IL (May 15-17, 2013, The Peninsula Hotel). First, Ms. Alexandra Wrage, President, TRACE International, Inc.—a non-profit business association dedicated to anti-bribery compliance—will describe the nature of the corruption challenges global companies face today. She will reflect on the evolving nature of current bribery schemes as touched upon in her recent Forbes blog (March 13, 2013) on “Five Schemes for Creative Corruption.”

Ms. Wrage will be joined by Ms. Rebecca Goldman, Vice President, Commercial Law, Rockwell Automation, Inc. Ms. Goldman is also a widely recognized expert on global anti-corruption/anti-bribery issues. She has been instrumental in developing one of the most sophisticated anti-corruption compliance programs of any company in the MAPI membership. Ms. Goldman will examine these issues from the perspective of how to address compliance in a way that is doable, reasonable, and effective. As such, she will offer practical tips for refining compliance programs to meet today’s anti-corruption challenges.

MAPI recommends that companies keep anti-bribery and anti-corruption issues high on the agendas of both senior management and boards of directors, tailoring their related compliance measures to deal with this new global legal and enforcement environment. The “How Companies Can Deal With Corruption in Emerging Markets” segment of the upcoming MAPI Executive Summit has been planned with an eye toward assisting companies with this daunting challenge.