The United States enforces its "Foreign Corrupt Practices Act".
According to Baron and Budd:
The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies and citizens, as well as foreign companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges, from bribing a foreign official with cash or non-cash items to obtain or retain business. Under the FCPA, violations are not limited to the stereotypical scenario of handing a suitcase full of cash to a foreign government official in exchange for a government contract. Although, that certainly does still happen, a bribe could be anything considered of value, such as a promise of future employment, a free vacation, or even a personal favor; and a foreign official could be a government official, or a military officer or even an employee of a state owned or operated entity such as a or hospital or investment fund.
The FCPA also requires companies whose securities are listed in the United States to meet its accounting provisions. These accounting provisions, which were designed to operate in tandem with the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA, require corporations to:
- make and keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect the transactions of the corporation, and
- devise and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls.
In other words, it is not only a violation for the company to offer bribes, but it is also a violation if those bribes are deducted as “expenses” – costs of doing business – on the company’s financial statements and if the company had no internal mechanisms to prevent such fraud.
The SEC and DOJ jointly enforce the FCPA.
The accounting provisions mean that each American company (that is large enough to need to report audited financial statements) pays to undergo an investigation each year (by its accounting firm) looking for corrupt payments.
As part of complying with the FCPA, American businesses (that are large enough to have legal departments) establish "ethics policies" and "ethics training programs" that teach all of their employees (both in the United States and in foreign countries) to not do business in ways that give the appearance of violating the FCPA.
A consequence of the FCPA is that countries with corrupt military procurement programs are less likely to purchase U.S. manufactured weaponry. This puts those countries at a military disadvantage, both tactically (because many U.S. weapons systems are the best available) and strategically (because the U.S. tends to diplomatically support countries that conspicuously purchase American products).