International Compliance

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is a US federal law that makes it unlawful for an individual or entity to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in getting or keeping business. The anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given, or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to: 

  1. Influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity. 
  2. Induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty. 
  3. To secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person. 

Under the FCPA, universities are responsible for the actions of its contractors, agents, and employees. All WSU employees are subject to the FCPA and its provisions, and violations of the Act can result in criminal penalties and reputational damage for WSU and/or the individuals involved.  

WSU employees must assess the risk of bribery or any other prohibited conduct under the FCPA. Below are the appropriate steps to mitigate risks associated with violating the FCPA: 

  1. Additional Training of employees on the provisions of the FCPA and how it can relate to university activities. Please see Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) training in Percipio.
  2. Conducting appropriate due diligence prior to engaging third party vendors, agents, partners, or contractors, including: 
    1. Ensuring contracts contain anti-bribery clauses and comply with applicable law provisions. WSU contracts office and the AGO can help with providing the necessary language. 
    2. Seeking the guidance of the AGO prior to expanding operations into a new foreign geographic location. 
    3. Ensuring third-party is familiar with and understands the provisions of the FCPA and incorporates this understanding in the agreement.
  3. Follow the relevant financial services and procurement policies before engaging in purchasing or payment activity with foreign government officials or state-owned or controlled entities. 

Examples of what may constitute payments or anything of value that can be used to corruptly influence a foreign government official include: 

  1. Unreasonable payment of travel or entertainment expenses. 
  2. Offering scholarships (for example to a child of a foreign official to gain favor) 
  3. Unwarranted employment opportunities (for example employing the relative of a foreign official go gain favor) 
  4. Charitable contributions to organizations owned or recommended by a foreign official or owned by his/her family members. 
  5. Promises of admissions to the child or relative of a foreign official to gain favor. 
  6. Contributions to a non-US political party or candidate for a non-US political office to gain favor. 

For more resources on the FCPA, please visit:

Export Control Regulations  

Export controls refer to the US laws and regulations that govern the transfer of controlled items or information to foreign nationals or foreign entities.  

Examples of situations that may require an export control review include: 

  1. Taking a laptop computer outside the US. 
  2. Research collaboration with foreign nationals or entities. 
  3. Accessing a US database from a foreign country. 
  4. Physical items or technology being exported out of the US. 

There are two main regulations that govern export controls: 

Export Administration Regulation (EAR): This regulation has jurisdiction over the exports and re-exports of all commercial goods, technology, information, and services. The EAR also has jurisdiction over items that the government classifies as “Dual-use”. A Dual-use item is one that has both commercial and military applications. Examples of dual-use items include aircraft engine parts, chemicals that can be used in weapons production, etc. The EAR is administered by the U.S Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Items regulated by EAR are on the Commercial Control List (CCL)

International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR): This regulation has jurisdiction over the exports of defense related articles, services, technology, and technical data, including some space and satellite related items. Items regulated under ITAR are specifically designed, developed, adapted or configured for military or intelligence applications, and include those on the United States Munitions List (USML). ITAR is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). 

Other regulations to be aware of in addition to EAR and ITAR include the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers and enforces economic and trade sanction programs against countries and groups of individuals. 

Please visit the Office of Research Support and Operations for more information on guidelines and frequently asked questions about Export Control Regulation for research.  

Helpful risk management tips regarding export controls are: 

  1. Encourage employee training on export controls. See Percipio for training courses. 
  2. Before engaging in research with foreign nationals or entities, reach out to the Office of Research Support and Operations for appropriate steps to ensure compliance with U.S. Export Controls Regulations. 
  3. In contracts, do not agree to indemnification for violations of the export regulations. Please contact the Office of Research Support and Operations (ORSO) for assistance with contract review.