US Customs: Petty Bribery and Unethical Practices - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  798 Words
Date:  2023-06-21


According to the US Foreign practices Act, allowable limits on petty bribery can be defined in the form of routine payments that are done when moving commodities via the customs (Gutterman,2019). The practice is termed as not only frowned but also unethical. In this situation, the import manager knew that the engines did not comply with the Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards, but hoped that the US Customs officers would not inspect them. The fact that engines were not compliant with EPA makes the deal unethical. The engines could pollute the environment or risk the lives of the passengers or whoever would use the vehicle. Another unethical activities that the Caterpillar Inc. engaged was accepting to pay so that engines can be moved through customs. The Caterpillar Inc. knew that the engines were non-compliant, and what it was doing was already illegal.

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The company is supposed to avoid any act of illegality or unethical behavior because the consequences can be severe. Such actions can result in the death of the customers, closure of the company, fines, and jail terms. The customer service manager threatened to call customs and told them that he paid their salary, and they darn well better release the goods now. It is unethical for the customer service manager to threaten customs so that the engines could be released fast. As a manager, he should be patient or use the mediation process but not attempt to threaten the US customs. Also, from this case, it is clear that the import manager offered customs official $ 500 to sign off the documents upon learning that the goods (engines) would delay. Bribery is both unethical and illegal. The best practice for the import manager was to wait and follow the normal clearance procedure.

Even if the $500 is donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities, if the officer expedited the paperwork, it would not make any difference because the company would have acted in an unethical manner. First, the company would have used engines that are non-compliant, an action that would lead to arrests and prosecutions. The practice already committed by Caterpillar Inc. is unethical and can affect the entire image because no customer would prefer non-compliant products, meaning the company can quickly lose profits, license, or face charges. Therefore, even if the money is donated to charity, the Caterpillar Company would face charges because it would have acted against the requirements.

An Example of the Decided Case

The Ralph Lauren, Argentina employees, used to bribe customs so that they can move products between the years 2005 and 2009. However, upon realizing the actions done by the employees, the company reported the matter to the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). More so, it reported these illegalities to the Department of justice (DOJ). The record indicated that they had bribed the customs officials $568,000 so that they can clear the products (Martini &McGinley, 2013).In April 2013, the SEC and DOJ entered into a non-prosecutor agreement with Ralph Lauren involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Ralph Lauren paid $882,000 to DOJ and $ 734,000 to SEC, which included incorporated charges for penalties, interest, and disgorgement (Martini &McGinley, 2013). The company paid relatively minor fees because the administration reported the illegal and unethical practices done by its employees to the NPA. This way, Ralph Lauren was not charged for criminal activities.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency is one of the United States federal government agencies responsible for the protection of environmental and human health. It creates standards and laws that protecting both human and environmental health (Miller, 2017). Currently, EPA administers most of the federal environmental regulations, which include drinking water policy, water, and air pollution, pesticides, radioactive waste, noise pollution, and solid waste pollution. Generally, EPA is always focused on developing standards in line with environmental statutes. More so, the agency enforces those standards, regulations, and laws. EPA also monitors the pollutants of the environment, promotes public awareness education concerning the environment and any other research related to environmental protection (Miller, 2017). The agency's functions revolve around the five core objectives. These aims include prevention of pollution to the environment, assessment, and reduction of risks, research for designing any innovations for protecting the environment, development of regulations relating to the environment environmental education. The EPA ensures that the actions does by both natural and corporate persons do not unnecessarily pollute the environment and risks the lives of humans and the welfare of the entire ecosystem.


Gutterman, E. (2019). Banning Bribes Abroad: US Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and its impact on the global governance of corruption. European Political Science, 18(2), 205-216.

Martini, J., & McGinley, M. (2013). Ralph Lauren Settles FCPA Case with SEC and DOJ. Criminal Litigation, 13(3), 1938713X

Miller, N. R. (2017). Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty [2 volumes], 389.

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