The Australian Government has announced a new agreement to combat corruption, help create a more transparent and predictable business environment and level the playing field for businesses and investors in the Indo-Pacific region.
Last week Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with leaders from Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam to endorse the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Fair Economy (Anti-Corruption and Tax) Agreement.
The Fair Economy Agreement is a new regional agreement and the most advanced and comprehensive agreement since the UN Convention against Corruption was agreed 20 years ago. The Agreement will strengthen anti-corruption standards and enhance transparency, accountability and institutional integrity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Under the Agreement, IPEF partners have committed to:
- Enhance efforts to prevent, detect, and enforce against corruption and bribery, consistent with the UN Convention against Corruption and the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention,
- Support the active participation of the private sector in fighting corruption, including encouraging the private sector to implement internal controls, ethics and compliance programs,
- Raise public awareness and participation with civil society and non-government stakeholders to help prevent and combat corruption,
- Ensure confidential complaint procedures and mechanisms and appropriate whistleblower protections of individuals reporting corruption offences
- Promote integrity and transparency in government procurement,
- Take actions to reflect the importance of transparency and inclusion in anti-corruption review processes,
- Ensure labour rights are respected as well as provide appropriate protection for migrant workers under domestic labour laws,
- Promote policies and share best practices that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in anti-corruption initiatives .
This is the first time standalone commitments on government procurement and labour protections have been included in a multilateral anti-corruption agreement of this kind.
The Fair Economy Agreement will also establish a capacity-building framework to enhance implementation efforts among IPEF partners.
Read the Prime Minister’s announcement here: Landmark Indo-Pacific Framework Agreements | Prime Minister of Australia (pm.gov.au)
Read the Joint Ministerial Statement here: Joint Statement From Indo-Pacific Economic Framework For Prosperity Partner Nations | U.S. Department of Commerce
Read the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Fair Economy fact sheet here: Fair Economy Agreement – Fact Sheet