April 15, 2019

Washington, DC – Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke on the House of Representatives floor after introducing the Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act. The legislation combats corruption in foreign countries and incentivizes US businesses to invest in otherwise high-risk areas around the world.

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US directly invested over $6 trillion abroad at the end of 2017. Although the United States works with foreign countries to promote a culture of integrity and prevent corruption, businesses—particularly small-businesses—face significant challenges when interfacing with foreign markets. The Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act will bolster foreign investments while providing critical protections for US businesses.

“This legislation will provide critical protections against corruption targeting Americans doing business in emerging markets around the world,” said Curtis. “Many businesses, and especially small businesses, do not have the resources to combat this type of corruption overseas. This bill will provide a crucial tool for small businesses to invest safely around the globe—benefitting our economy and developing markets around the world.”

Statements of Support

House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul:
“By promoting a culture of integrity and confronting corruption in foreign markets, we can open new doors for American businesses to expand innovation and compete overseas. This bill will protect American business interests abroad by authorizing the President to impose sanctions against corrupt actors in both the public and private sectors. I applaud Congressman Curtis for taking the lead to address the significant challenges U.S. businesses face abroad and look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass this legislation.”

Derek Miller, President and CEO, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce:
“The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support the Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act. This important legislation will provide critical protections against corruption in foreign countries and incentivize businesses to invest in otherwise high-risk areas around the world. We commend you for your leadership in combatting corruption and ensuring businesses have effective risk-management tools available as they consider investment opportunities abroad. We are pleased to endorse the “Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act” and to assist in its passage in the 116th Congress.”

Frank Mosier, Chairman, Rendeavour:
“As a long-time American investor in sub-Saharan Africa, I can speak to both the incredible opportunities in the region, as well as some of the public- and private-sector corruption challenges that can deter needed American investments.  The tools proposed in the Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act will bolster US investments in emerging markets throughout Africa, Eurasia, Latin America and other parts of the world. On behalf of Rendeavour, I want to thank Rep. Curtis for leading on this important effort.”   

Background
Protecting US Businesses Abroad Act

Protects against public or private sector corruption including:

  • Soliciting or accepting bribes
  • Using the authority of the state to extort payments, intimidating US foreign investors, or otherwise thwarting investment by US foreign investors
  • Obstructing, manipulating, or interfering with the impartial operation of justice or law enforcement
  • Expropriating assets without providing just compensation
  • Conspiring to engage in support of corruption
  • Authorizes the President to impose sanctions against individuals engaged in public or private sector corruption
  • Such individuals will be ineligible to receive a visa to enter the US
  • Requires the President to submit a report to Congress on individuals who had sanctions imposed against them using this authority
  • Requires heads of relevant Federal departments and agencies to develop a strategy to coordinate US government efforts to protect against corruption

The Congressman’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce the Protecting United States Businesses Abroad Act.

This legislation will provide critical protections against corruption by authorizing the President—through the advice of Congress or State Department officials—to revoke the visas of those engaging in corruption targeting Americans doing business in emerging markets around the world. This includes soliciting bribes, extorting payments or assets, manipulating law enforcement, and more.

Many businesses and especially small businesses do not have the resources to combat this type of corruption overseas. This bill will provide a crucial tool for small businesses to invest safely around the globe—benefitting our economy and developing markets around the world.

I want to thank Ranking Member McCaul of the House Foreign Affairs Committee for his support, as well as the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Rendeavor—a company that has been directly affected by this type of corruption overseas.

I yield my time.”

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CURTIS FOR CONGRESS:
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