Just as we move at last to the issue of trade relations in the Brexit negotiations, it is a good moment to receive the UK Anti-corruption strategy, published on 11 December. It contains the following commitment: “as the UK develops its position as an independent trading nation [the UK will consider] how transparency and anti-corruption can best be supported through our bilateral and regional trade dialogues and trading agreements” and through mandatory measures on companies (p.58). In section 3.6, there is a strong commitment to the work of the international movement represented by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to secure transparency and openness in reporting and successful reporting of ‘beneficial ownership’ – i.e. who really benefits from a company behind the formality of legal ownership.
Given the recent US decision to cease to be an implementing member of the EITI, and given the great importance of companies registered in the UK in mining investment in Peru, it is pleasing to see this much sensitivity to full disclosure and transparency. It gives us a useful handle to press for compliance in the detailed work on trade agreements that lies ahead.