Wednesday, October 9, 2013


    Jakarta, Oct 9, 2013 (Antara) - Member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) consider corruption a threat to social and economic development.  
  Corruption practices lower public and investors' trust, damage healthy market competition, threaten consumers' safety, and increase the cost of doing business, delivering public services, and infrastructure projects.
        Therefore, to support sustainable and inclusive growth, the 21 member economies of APEC have expressed their commitment to eradicating corruption, bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade.

        Over the past few years, APEC leaders have placed emphasis on including effective transparency and anti-corruption measures as part of the overall APEC agenda.
        In the 21st APEC Summit held in Bali on October 7 and 8, 2013, APEC economic leaders issued a declaration called "Bali Declaration - Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth" that also touches on the problem of corruption.
        The leaders agreed to establish an APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET), which will strengthen informal and formal regional and cross-border cooperation in the fight against corruption.
        ACT-NET is expected to help promote greater collaboration among the economies' law enforcers in combating corruption, bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade.
        APEC leaders had previously identified corruption as a serious threat to good governance, which also deters investments, when they gathered in Santiago, Chile, in November 2004 for the 12th APEC Summit.
        They believed that fighting corruption is essential to the development of their economies for the benefit of the people.
        "Accordingly, further to our agreement in Bangkok to fight corruption, we endorsed the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency. We also endorsed the APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency which develops and implements it, including through the APEC anti-corruption initiative from Santiago to Seoul," said the APEC leaders in the 2004 Declaration called "Santiago Declaration - One Community, Our Future."
    Since the endorsement of the APEC Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency in 2004, APEC leaders have understood how fighting corruption and promoting transparency are critical to sustaining economic development, growth, and prosperity.
        In 2005, an Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force (ACT) was established. Given the importance of the work carried out by the task force, ACT was upgraded in status to that of a working group in March 2011.
       The objective of ACT is to coordinate the implementation of the Santiago Commitment, the APEC Course of Action and the APEC Transparency Standards.
        It also promotes cooperation in areas such as extradition, legal assistance and judicial and law enforcement, especially asset forfeiture and recovery.
        In 2013, Indonesia was chosen to chair the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group (ACTWG). The 17th ACTWG meeting was held on 25 June 2013 in Medan, Indonesia.
        Given its leadership position, Indonesia proposed an initiative to establish ACT-NET as a coordinating network among law enforcers under the umbrella of ACTWG.
        The ACTWG consists of law enforcement agencies, anti-corruption agencies and institutions, investigators and prosecutors of corruption cases, and the ruling authorities for legal services as well as extradition from all APEC economies.
       The establishment of ACT-NET has been hailed by many APEC member economies, including Indonesia, China, the United States, and Taiwan.
         "We believe that combating corruption is necessary, and, of course, we support such measures," said Deputy Chairman of the Chinese International Trade Promotion Council, Yu Ping, on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Bali.
         According to Yu, improved economic growth cannot be achieved if there is no transparency and fairness in the economic process. Thus, the movement of corrupt individuals must be prevented and regional countries need to cooperate to strengthen anti-corruption measures.
         US Secretary of State, who had attended the APEC Summit in Bali on behalf of President Barack Obama, said his country emphasises the need to fight corruption because corrupt practices can destroy the market and increase inefficiency in businesses.
         Welcoming the establishment of ACT-NET, Taiwan's Minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Kuan Chung-ming said Taiwan supports corruption eradication efforts in the Asia-Pacific region to create a clean economic and business climate.
         Minister Kuan expressed his optimism that anti-corruption efforts, particularly those to eradicate money laundering, can be implemented at APEC.
        Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa and Trade Minister Gita Wiryawan, who were co-chairmen of the APEC ministerial meeting, emphasised the need to fight large-scale corruption.
        "APEC participants provided an important contribution to the achievement of this agreement. This agreement is expected to help stabilise political, economic, and security concerns in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as improve connectivity between participants at APEC," Marty said. 
   Indonesia hopes that it will be able to deal with corruption cases outside of its jurisdiction through formal and informal cooperation within ACT-NET.
         Yuri Octavian Thamrin, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs¿ Director General for Asia-Pacific and African Affairs, said there has to be coordination between Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and law enforcers from other countries, to extradite corruptors who have been detained abroad.
        At ACT-NET, law enforcers such as the police, prosecutors, judges, and KPK representatives will be given opportunities to discuss and exchange information and learn more about each other's cases.
        "That's where we hope to limit corruptors' movements," he noted.
          However, due to its informal status as a non-binding organisation, law enforcers from APEC member countries will face difficulties in establishing formal cooperation such as extradition.
        APEC also has an Anti-corruption Code of Conduct for Business that includes the prohibition of bribery. The code of conduct, among other things, states that "enterprises should prohibit bribery in all business transactions that are carried out directly or through third parties, including subsidiaries, joint ventures, agents, representatives, consultants, brokers, contractors, suppliers or any other intermediaries under its effective control."
    Established in 1989, APEC is an economic cooperation forum that aims to promote free trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. APEC members account for 56 percent of the world economic output and represent 2.7 billion consumers. ***2***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/A/A. Abdussalam) 09-10-2013 16:22:09

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