Kudlow says Trump ‘looking at’ reforming law on bribing foreign officials

Larry Kudlow, the White House’s top economic adviser, said Friday the administration is exploring making changes to a global anti-bribery law.

“We are looking at it and we have heard some complaints from our companies,” Kudlow told reporters regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which bars American companies from paying bribes to secure contracts abroad. 

“I don’t want to say anything definitive policy-wise, but we are looking at it,” he added. 

Kudlow avoided getting into specifics of what the changes could look like but indicated the administration is crafting a “package” of reforms. 

“Let me wait until we get a better package,” he said.

Speculation over the FCPA has spiked after the release of an excerpt from an upcoming book reporting that Trump has bashed the law as an obstacle to U.S. companies’ ability to compete overseas. 

Trump reportedly told then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in 2017 that he needed him to “to get rid of that law” and also mulled an executive order to scrap it. 

Other countries have anti-bribery statutes of their own, though none pack as much power as the FCPA, which was signed into law decades ago and has emerged as a template for other countries working on curtailing corruption.

Trump had railed against the law long before running for president, saying on CNBC in 2012 it was a “horrible” rule and that “the world is laughing at us” for abiding by it.

Despite Trump’s dislike for the law, there is not estimated to be much appetite in Congress to change or scrap the statute and an executive order is expected to draw court challenges.

Tags Larry Kudlow Rex Tillerson

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