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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 112: International Chamber of Commerce: Rules of Conduct on Extortion and Bribery in International Business Transactions, 1999


Commentary: The ICC has long called for stringent local regulation supported by a multilateral treaty: ICC Commission on Ethical Practices (1977), ‘Extortion and Bribery in Business Transactions’, Report adopted by the 131st Session of the ICC Council, Paris: ICC Pub No 135, Pt 2, Recommendations to Governments. First formulated in 1978, the ICC Rules of Conduct envisage complementary and mutually supportive action by governments, intergovernmental organisations and the business community to enhance transparency. In 1994 the ICC reviewed its 1977 Report, with the Rules subsequently revised during 1996 (35 ILM 1306). The Foreword to the 1999 edition observed that extortion and bribery can undermine democratic governments and market economies as well as hinder trade liberalisation through unfair competition: 1999/briberydoc99.asp. The 1999 Rules are more stringent than the 1977 version: the latter prohibited extortion and bribery only when obtaining or retaining business, whereas the 1999 version prohibits these activities for any purpose. Hence extortion and bribery in judicial or legislative proceedings, tax matters, environmental and other regulatory cases are now covered. Although major responsibility for implementation rests with governments, the international business community is also committed to voluntarily addressing these issues. Governments are urged to regulate and publicly record political contributions and companies are encouraged to implement enforcement mechanisms for individual codes of conduct. Consistent with the roles and responsibilities of an NGO, the principal purpose of the ICC Standing Committee (envisaged in Part III) is to stimulate self-regulatory action rather than act as an investigatory Panel as originally...

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