US official lauds fight by China vs. graft

Updated: 2015-01-15 12:29

By Zhang Yue in Beijing(China Daily USA)

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China has taken major steps in fighting international corruption in recent years, and action against graft and bribery is key for the rule of commercial law internationally, said Kelly Welsh, general counsel of the US Department of Commerce, during a trip to China this week.

"Corruption hinders business and economic growth," Welsh said. "As the world two largest trading economies, China and the US should be leaders in regulating our own businesses as they do business abroad," he said.

Welsh and a US delegation embarked Jan 12 on a weeklong trip for the 19th US-China Legal Exchange, where senior officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Federal Trade Commission will share US experiences in regulating air pollution and promoting data security.

On Tuesday, Welsh delivered speeches in Beijing both at Tsinghua University and at the Beijing American Center, recapping how the two countries have worked to promote a strong commercial rule of law since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979, and their joint effort in fighting international bribery and corruption.

"During the last October's Fourth Plenum meeting, the Chinese leadership also called for an acceleration of China's work against corruption, and we work with our Chinese counterparts to fight international corruption," he said. "I have been actively engaging in the fight against bribery in a series of issues in business transactions containing bribery of foreign government officials."

Such messages also will encourage companies to take steps on their own on foreign bribery, he said.

"The commercial rule of law will be strengthened if China moves forward on its enforcement of its foreign bribery law," Welsh said. "In 2011, China took a key step enacting legislation criminalizing paying bribes to foreign government officials. This would send us a strong message that China is assuming a position of global leadership consistent with its commitment to law ."

The US and China have worked together to develop guidance to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation companies for compliance programs, which was recently endorsed by leaders in November.

Welsh said that during China's Fourth Plenum, the Chinese leadership asked how to move legal reform forward, which he sees as a great opportunity in enhancing China-US engagement in the commercial rule of law.

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