China urges state firms to guard against overseas corruption risks

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s corruption watchdog on Monday urged its state-owned enterprises (SOE) to guard against the risk of corruption in their overseas entities, saying it was a key task of every company’s Communist Party cell.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said it had published guidance instructing state firms to deal with such risks that could arise from their overseas personnel and decision-making.

“Party committees and discipline inspection groups at every state enterprise must stick to the highest standard of Communist Party discipline and deeply understand the importance urgency of controlling overseas risks,” it said in a statement on its website.

The aim was to “ensure the safety of China’s assets, make our state enterprises strong and excellent, and cultivate world-class enterprises that are globally competitive”, it said.

China’s wide-ranging crackdown on corruption has largely focused on the domestic operations of its state-owned enterprises, rather than their overseas activities.

In 2015, the government said it would audit the overseas assets of its SOEs after the state news agency Xinhua disclosed that the government does not audit the 4 trillion yuan ($637.42 billion) of assets such firms hold overseas.

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Robert Birsel