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Controlling Corruption: A Key to Development-Oriented Trade

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The economic and social costs of corruption-induced market distortions are widely recognized. In response, civil society groups, governments, and international institutions all are taking steps to put a stop to corruption's corrosive effects on development. As a necessary complement to these emerging anticorruption initiatives, the WTO must now join this effort and devise trade-focused mechanisms to prevent corruption. A key opportunity in this regard is the potential WTO agreement on transparency in government procurement. Resistance to its inclusion as part of the WTO Doha Ministerial was strongest from developing nations-precisely those countries that could realize the greatest benefits from anticorruption reform. Beyond this stalemate, WTO members must make a commitment to fight cross-border corruption while building trust and collaboration between industrial and developing countries to achieve broader WTO institutional reform.