Donald Trump expressed rage that a U.S. law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, prevented U.S. corporations from bribing foreign officials according to the New Yorker.
Trump expressed his displeasure to Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon (and now former Secretary of State), a company with a track record of dealing with corrupt regimes around the world.
In typical Trumpian hyperbole, the President believed that American businesses were getting a raw deal since they couldn't engage in underhanded behavior (behavior Trump himself has been accused of).
Tillerson disagreed with Trump and relayed this story to him.
"When he was an executive with Exxon, he told Trump, he once met with senior officials in Yemen to discuss a deal. At the meeting, Yemen’s oil minister handed him his business card. On the back was written an account number at a Swiss bank. “Five million dollars,” the minister told him. “I don’t do that,” Tillerson said. “Exxon doesn’t do that.” If the Yemenis wanted Exxon on the deal, he said, they’d have to play straight. A month later, the Yemenis assented. “Tillerson told Trump that America didn’t need to pay bribes—that we could bring the world up to our own standards,” a source with knowledge of the exchange told me.