The State Department recently released this Investment Climate Statement for the Dominican Republic. It caught my eye not because the Dominican Republic is a prominent market for U.S. business, but rather because information in the statement provides a nice reminder why Congress chose to exempt facilitation payments from the reach of the FCPA’s anti-bribery provisions.
In pertinent part, the statement reads:
“Foreign investors report numerous systemic problems in the Dominican Republic and cite a lack of clear, standardized rules by which to compete and a lack of enforcement of existing rules. Complaints include allegations of widespread corruption; requests for bribes; delays in government payments; weak intellectual property rights enforcement; bureaucratic hurdles; slow and sometimes locally biased judicial and administrative processes, and non-standard procedures in customs valuation and classification of imports. Weak land tenure laws and government expropriations without due compensation continue to be a problem. The public perceives administrative and judicial decision-making to be inconsistent, opaque, and overly time-consuming. Corruption and poor implementation of existing laws are widely discussed as key investor grievances.”