Engaging a foreign agent, representative, distributor or channel partner (collectively "channel partners") can greatly assist a company in increasing foreign sales. After all, these individuals or entities "know the landscape."
As readers of this blog well know, engaging a foreign channel partner can also be risky business under the FCPA.
In a previous post, I talked about certain minimum elements of an effective FCPA compliance program as typically set forth in DOJ non-prosecution or deferred prosecution agreements (see here).
One of those elements is the "promulgation of a compliance code, standards and procedures designed to reduce the prospect of violations of the FCPA" which "should apply to all directors, officers, and employees and, where necessary and approopriate, outside parties acting on behalf [of a company] in a foreign jurisdiction, including agents, consultants, representatives, distributors, teaming partners, and joint venture partners."
HP has apparently determined that it is necessary and appropriate for its global network of approximately 155,000 channel partners to complete HP's regulatory compliance training program or risk losing their partner status (see here).
A HP spokesperson confirmed that "HP is, in fact, working to have all of its global channel partners undergo training regarding government legal and regulatory compliance [including the FCPA] as part of establishing or renewing their Business Development Agreement" with HP.