APEC Leaders have committed to a new APEC strategy to strengthen regional efforts to overcome corruption that will include the establishment of the APEC Anticorruption and Transparency (ACT) capacity-building Program.
The ACT Program will enable APEC Member Economies to develop policy and legislative changes that have been agreed by Leaders in the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency. The strategy also includes a high level APEC anti-corruption symposium in Korea next year.
Agreed at the annual APEC Leaders Meeting that was held in Santiago, Chile, on November 20-21, the range of anti-corruption measures also includes a specific set of actions that economies can use for fighting corruption and ensuring transparency. These include measures to enable Member Economies to deny safe haven to officials and individuals found guilty of public corruption and those who corrupt them.
United States President, George W. Bush, said the package will assist developing economies to pass new laws that will ultimately reward the hard work of their people.
"We believe every nation is capable of fighting corruption, is capable of putting good economic policies in place," Mr. Bush said in relation to the potential the package holds for economies in the region.
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, highlighted the importance of developing ways to prevent corrupt practices and reduce the significant financial burden corruption paces on the region.
"Corruption increases the costs of doing business and can act as a powerful disincentive for foreign investors," Mr Howard said in Santiago.
"Under APEC's anti-corruption initiative, members will receive training and technical assistance to investigate and prosecute corruption cases, increase judicial integrity and combat money-laundering and terrorist financing."
The Anticorruption and Transparency Capacity-Building Program includes technical assistance targeted at helping APEC economies address key areas outlined in the Santiago Commitment and the APEC Anticorruption Course of Action.
Practical workshops and training programs will be developed as part of this program to deal with investigatory and prosecutorial techniques, judicial reform, anti-money-laundering, asset forfeiture and recovery, and the APEC Transparency Standards.
By launching this historic anticorruption initiative, APEC Member Economies hope to reduce the economic loss caused by corruption in the region and to promote a culture of integrity and lawfulness.
The APEC Member Economies funding activities under the ACT Program are Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Korea, and the United States.