We recognized that corruption is not only a significant impediment to social and economic development, but also a contributing factor in lowering public trust and investor confidence. Corruption hampers and distorts market competition, threatens consumer safety, and raises the costs of doing business, providing public services, and completing infrastructure projects.
In 2004, through the Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency, APEC Leaders acknowledged the threat that corruption poses to good governance and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific and underlined the need to nurture and sustain good governance, economic development, and prosperity through collective cooperation in combating corruption and ensuring transparency.
In 2012 APEC Leaders endorsed the Vladivostok Declaration to renew their commitment to fight corruption and ensure transparency and to outline common activities in the future. Accordingly, in order to enhance the enforcement of members’ laws addressing corruption and bribery in compliance with the APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency this year we endorsed the establishment of the APEC Network of Anti-Corruption and Law Enforcement Authorities (ACT-NET), a network that will meet annually and bring together law enforcement authorities, anti-corruption agencies (investigators and prosecutors), and authorities responsible for mutual legal assistance and extradition from APEC member economies.
ACT-NET will provide APEC member economies with an additional instrument to address and respond dynamically to the most important issues of law enforcement in combating corruption, bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade issues in the Asia-Pacific region.
ACT-NET will operate under the auspices of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group (ACT) and in compliance with the APEC Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency.
We instructed officials to use ACT-NET to conduct the following:
- To facilitate the sharing of expertise and experiences in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting corruption and domestic and foreign bribery, money laundering, and illicit trade cases;
- To provide a forum that can facilitate bilateral and multilateral discussions of such cases, as appropriate; and
- To promote networking and foster relationship-building among anti-corruption and law enforcement authorities who can assist one another in detecting, investigating and prosecuting such cases.