By Josh Wingrove
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s administration is weighing whether to seek changes to a 1977 law that makes it illegal for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials.
“We are looking at it,” White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said at the White House on Friday, in response to a reporter’s question about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“I would just say: We are aware of it, we are looking at it, and we’ve heard complaints from some of our companies,” Kudlow said. “I don’t want to say anything definitive policywise, but we are looking at it.”
A forthcoming book called “A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America,” by Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol D. Leonnig, reports that Trump has complained about existing rules, and that he clashed with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 when Trump pushed to scrap the FCPA.
“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump said, according to an passage published by the Post. “We’re going to change that.”
The law is designed to prevent individuals and businesses in the U.S. from paying money or offering gifts to foreign officials as a way to win business overseas. Critics of the law complain that it puts U.S. businesses at a disadvantage in places where bribes are customary.