Bob: excellent article as to how U.S. business is faced with obstacles in selling and exporting U.S. products to China. I shall address the issue as to bribery; it is illegal by U.S. UK and Chinese laws to offer or give bribery. In many of the over 100 countries around the world bribery is part of the culture. Many of the government employees are low paid and bribery received supplement the income of these workers.
If a U.S. firm employs the services of a Chinese Law firm, he includes in his fees amount he needs to use for bribery and bills the client for legal service rendered, He then informs his client off the record that some of his fees need to be used to get government approval where the U.S. Company was to employ a local agent his fees is billed as sales commission to the client, he also must allocate part of his commission for bribery to get your product sold.
Here are two personal experiences; I once needed a document approved in a third world country, it require five officials to approve the document, when it was presented to the first officials he took the document and placed it on a pile of documents and told me to come back in two weeks, upon paying $5.00 the two weeks’ time wait became five minutes, the process cost me $5.00 for each government official and was completed within half an hour.
Russia after Prestorkia, I need an exit visa for my Russian fiancée to leave Russia for the UK, I was told it will take four to six weeks to get the exit visa, by paying an agent a fee, it was obtained in three days, bear in mind the agent has to use some of his fees for bribery, on another incident I need to export my fiancée books of approximately 300 books the shipping agent told me he needs to get permit from the education ministry, and it will take over two months to get approval, by paying a bribery I was able to shorten the time to 10 days.
In many third world countries upon landing at the airport by making contact with an agent and grease his palm with dollars, you will be processed through immigration and custom within twenty minutes, that agent works on the inside and feeds all of the government officials.
Now you may ask how it is done in the west to make bribery legal, simple if you need to sell a product you may need to wine and dine the buyer, when I was an Insurance broker in California my dinner bill for a party of four may run as high as $700.00 the buying agent just loves French wine and cognacs. Another incident in the U.S. a purchasing agent buying millions of dollars from a foreign seller may have a brand new Cadillac delivered to his drive way. Now you may ask how do you bribe a politician legally, simple you engage a Law firm in Washington that specializes in Lobbying.