By Sue Reisinger of Law.com. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Libya Business News.
To help strengthen business ties between the United States and Libya, the American Chamber of Commerce in Libya has formed a first-of-its-kind strategic alliance with global anticorruption group TRACE International.
The alliance calls for TRACE to provide antibribery and due diligence training to AmCham Libya members, which include global companies like Raytheon Company, Textron Inc., and others.
In turn AmCham, an independent affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will offer TRACE its local business expertise in the rapidly changing post-Kaddafi nation.
“In a country that has combined compliance challenges like Libya, AmCham brings local business intelligence and knowledge. They have staff on the ground and a great rapport with the local community,” said Alexandra Wrage, president of TRACE (and a regular columnist for CorpCounsel.com).
Since the so-called Arab Spring, there has been a rush of U.S. businesses seeking to expand in the oil-rich Middle East country.
But Wrage explained that the “usual government controls that you hope for in a market are not well established nor robust in Libya. And prior to the recent dramatic change in government, there was an environment of corruption.”
So companies are proceeding cautiously, she said, and TRACE will bring its anticorruption programs to AmCham’s members to help them cope with the changing compliance climate.
She said she hopes a planned November workshop in Libya will allow local businesspeople to talk about the bribery challenges they face “whether it’s from low-level bureaucrats or those higher up in the government.”
Under the agreement, AmCham Libya members will complete a comprehensive due diligence review, analysis, and approval process, including an online training course and annual review.
Brian Feser, a Textron vice president, said in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday, “We believe this can be a great resource for the Libyan government and industry, and for U.S. companies as they look to collaborate with Libyan business partners.”
AmCham Libya president Richard Griffiths said in the statement, “We believe that by adding this process to our membership, we are setting the very highest standards in relation to antibribery and third party due diligence.”
Wrage said AmCham in Libya is the first of what she expects to be many alliances with international chapters of the Chamber as talks with other groups are underway. She called the deal “a ground-breaking step in moving toward worldwide compliance."