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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Statement on the Rule of Law
New York, New York, September 19, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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I was very pleased to meet today with business community leaders to discuss the importance of promoting the rule of law abroad. The U.S. Government and the American private sector have obvious common interests in working to build effective legal systems overseas. Strong legal regimes promote political stability and economic development which in turn contribute to American security and prosperity. Cooperation between business and government is an essential element in our general effort to raise rule of law standards, and is a vital step toward helping us create and maintain a level playing field for U.S. business.

For the U.S. Government, the rule of law is an indispensable part of developing democracy and promoting human rights. In addition to our diplomatic efforts to urge governments to respect and promote the rule of law, the U.S. Government has long had a number of programs to develop its various aspects in particular countries.

USAID and the Department of Justice cooperate in implementing programs to strengthen judicial and legal institutions in various countries. In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Commerce operate the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) specifically aimed at reform of commercial law. On the trade side, the U.S. Government supports the World Trade Organization's program to develop the trade capacity of poorer countries, a key factor in their ability to fulfill their WTO commitments. Our anti-corruption efforts in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization of American States, in multilateral assistance programs, and through our bilateral programs in Southeast Europe will help create environments conducive to doing business and to encouraging the investment needed to spur prosperity in developing economies. We are also working through the International Labor Organization and bilaterally to assist a number of countries in eliminating child labor and in strengthening worker rights.

The private sector is vigorously working to sharpen adherence to the rule of law. The American Bar Association's Central and Eastern European Law Initiative (CEELI) has played a strong role in developing courts, in formulating and publishing legislation, and in educating lawyers and judges in Central and Eastern Europe. In China, the U.S.-China Business Council and several individual U.S. companies have supported rule of law projects, which have been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of this issue.

In some areas of the world, particularly the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, considerable progress has been made. In others, we still have a long way to go. One of the ways to speed that progress is to enhance cooperation between business and government to achieve our common goals.

[End of Document]

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