Eric Siegel, executive vice-president, Export Development Canada (EDC)
January 12, 2004
Paul Martin’s Other Deficit Problem: Ethics, Lawrence Solomon, Jan. 8, leaves the mistaken impression that Export Development Canada (EDC) is indifferent to the negative effects of corruption and does nothing to combat corruption and bribery.
On the contrary, EDC is, in fact, very conscious of this issue and has been actively taking steps to fight corruption in international business transactions for many years. It is EDC’s strict policy not to support transactions that involve corrupt activity. Our code of business ethics, from 1998, states, “EDC will not support a transaction that involves the offer or giving of a bribe, and will exercise reasonable diligence and care not to support unknowingly such a transaction.” Moreover, our efforts on the international front through implementation of the OECD Action Statement date back to November, 2000.
EDC’s Anti-Corruption program was implemented through the development of a due diligence process, extensive staff training, modification of loan and insurance documentation to include anti-corruption provisions and systems enhancements. Under the program, EDC customers are now required in respect of transactions supported by EDC to make anti-corruption declarations and accept covenants in applicable documentation.
EDC would refuse to provide services to a company convicted of past corruption unless it was satisfied the company had rehabilitated itself and put in place systems to detect and deter future acts of corruption. Such systems would have to be consistent with international best practices.
EDC was not involved in the transaction for which Acres was convicted in Lesotho. EDC’s decision to continue supporting certain of Acres’ business activities is based not only on a comprehensive review of the transactions to be supported in accordance with our anti-corruption program but also on an independent review of Acres’ anti-corruption program, which determined the company has undertaken a program of rehabilitation that satisfied EDC’s requirements.
Eric Siegel, executive vice-president, Export Development Canada, Ottawa.