First can I offer my thanks for the opportunity to have this discussion toady.
Corruption is the scourge of all, and a serious inhibiter to economic growth but impacts most heavily on the poorest nations. However, good governance and effective efforts to combat corruption can lift the most disadvantaged from poverty and help States to realise their economic potential.
The OSCE recognises that good governance is fundamental to political stability and security. It leads to improved economic benefits and accelerates economic transitions, including by creating attractive business environments. Conversely, corruption increases the cost of doing business by up to 10% on average according to the World Economic Forum.
As the United Kingdom develops our position as an independent trading nation, and so that businesses can compete fairly, we have included new, additional wording covering anti-corruption in trade agreements with Asian Partners Japan and Australia. The UK-Japan agreement, for example, reinforces anti-corruption and anti-bribery obligations and affirms adherence to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The UK is taking every opportunity to eradicate corruption and corrupt behaviour including through our G7 Presidency. At the G7 summit last month the members of the G7, along with Korea, Australia and others, committed in the Leaders Open Societies Statement to prevent and tackle corruption and illicit financial flows and promote integrity, transparency and accountability.
But it is not just about faceless companies or shady organisations. States can also take action against corrupt individuals. In April the UK launched a new Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime, designating individuals or organisations for a wide range of involvement in corruption, including laundering, facilitating, profiting financially or otherwise benefiting. The regime also allows for sanctions on enablers as well as corrupt actors themselves. And we announced a second tranche of designations earlier today.
The UK remains committed to supporting our Asian Partners in their work to combat corruption. In Afghanistan, we have been a strong supporter of the Afghan Government’s efforts to combat corruption, for example through building the capacity of the judiciary and law enforcement. And in Thailand, through the UNODC, we have been able to train 1,300 public officials on the importance of financial investigations relating to wildlife and forest crime.
In order to enhance security and stability, the OSCE works on promoting international co-operation on economic issues, strengthening good governance and assisting participating States in combating corruption. Engagement with the OSCE Asian Partners for Co-Operation is a manifestation of the inter-linkage between European security and global security. Through ongoing dialogue and joint activities with our Asian Partners, the OSCE can be a forum for sharing expertise and can provide insights into relevant developments outside the OSCE region. We welcome that cooperation and remain committed to it.