Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



The news media have been filled in recent years with stories of questionable conduct by transnational corporations (TNCs). Allegations and admissions of bribes and "dubious" payments or "improper" benefits to governmental and political figures and groups have been rife. In response, numerous national bodies have set about the task of investigating and dealing with questionable TNC conduct. In the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the State Department, the Defense Department, the Justice Department, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Congress, and the Executive have been active on the problem.

Various international bodies have also investigated and taken steps to deal with question able TNC conduct. This note focuses on the progress made in this area by two international organizations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Organization of American States (OAS). The former recently produced a code of conduct for TNCs; the latter is in the process of producing such a code. By examining the approaches undertaken by these two organizations and noting some deficiencies, criticisms, and suggestions, the author has concluded that, although little progress on creating a workable system of international norms has as yet been made, the efforts of the OECD and the OAS represent a significant first step.