China World Hotel
Vice Minister Liu, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: On behalf of Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus, it is an honor to be here with you this morning to help open the 10th Meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group Anti-Corruption Working Group.
As many senior officials have stated on both sides, the Anti-Corruption Working Group is a shining example of U.S.-China cooperation.
As Presidents Obama and Xi agreed last month during their meeting at the White House, the United States and China are committed to enhance cooperation on anti-corruption and law enforcement. We can do this by improving coordination on criminal investigations, repatriation of fugitives, and asset recovery. The Anti-Corruption Working Group is an important part of this coordination.
Making Progress Together on Anti-Corruption
So too, however is our work together in a number of multilateral settings.
As you all know, 2016 will be an important year for China, as it assumes the presidency of the G20—and the chairmanship of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group. We hope our two countries can continue to advance a strong international commitment to fighting corruption and bribery. This includes denying safe haven, improving asset recovery, and encouraging further practical cooperation under the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group.
But the G20 is not the only place we work together.
In Vienna, at the United Nations, we are working to develop strong cooperative frameworks to combat transnational crime and corruption. We do this through effective implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Here in Asia, of course, we also work together in APEC. We believe that when the United States and China lead in APEC, we can promote cultures of integrity across economies, markets, and supply chains in the Asia Pacific region.
Let me say a few words about some of the tasks ahead.
UN Convention Against Corruption
In regards to the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, the United States looks forward to coordinating with China prior to the Conference of States Parties early next month in St. Petersburg.
As two influential member states, we would welcome closer coordination on the future of the Convention and its review mechanism. The United States believes that mechanism has helped the implementation of the Convention over the past five years and should be renewed for another five years.
At the same time, we have learned important lessons that should be included in the next five-year cycle. For example, we should improve the effectiveness of peer reviews and improve the smooth operations of the secretariat.
We should also be realistic about the challenges we face domestically and at the U.N. for human and financial resources to support the review mechanism.
We welcome the opportunity to work with China and other States Parties to find ways to strengthen the effectiveness of our reviews, improve the use of national experts, and ensure that the Secretariat of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime can support the review mechanism in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
We also owe it to our partners in fighting corruption —particularly international organizations and members of civil society—to allow them to participate in the work of the Conference of States Parties. We have nothing to fear or hide, and we look forward to the Conference’s debate on this subject in St. Petersburg.
Let me also say a few words about our work in APEC. Through APEC’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group, and the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies, the United States and China have promoted cooperation on cross-border anticorruption. This includes implementing the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption.
In 2016, we should continue to make the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies a pragmatic body working on issues related to asset recovery and denying safe haven to corrupt officials.
Finally, combating bribery remains an important goal of our Joint Liaison Group and our work with APEC, and important to our leadership.
We hope that we can continue a dialogue within the Anti-Corruption Working Group on bribery. For example, we hope to hold roundtable discussions with the business community in Beijing or Shanghai next year.
Similarly, we hope to have more cooperation on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Anti-Bribery Convention in the coming years. We would welcome a commitment by China to join the OECD Working Group on Bribery as a participant, with a view to acceding to the convention within two years. That would be a very timely move given China’s upcoming Presidency of the G-20 and co-chair of the G-20 Anticorruption Working Group.
We have accomplished much in 2015, and demonstrated a strong record of achievement over the past 10 years.
Given the importance of anti-corruption work, we hope that our strong partnership in this area can enhance law enforcement cooperation in other areas over the next 10 years.
Thank you for your kind invitation to celebrate this important milestone.