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BERLIN: September 12, 2018. Corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) says 33 countries, producing 52 percent of the world’s exports, conduct “limited, little or no enforcement” against foreign bribery by corporations.

In its twelfth and latest Exporting Corruption report, the organisation says only 11 out of 44 countries it surveyed conduct active or moderate enforcement against companies bribing abroad.

Enforcement levelsOf these only Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, the UK and the US actively enforce the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, while Australia, Brazil, Portugal and Sweden conduct “moderate enforcement”.

Together these countries are responsible for 30.8 percent of world exports.

Brazil and Israel have dramatically improved their behaviour, up from little or no enforcement in 2015 notes TI, while Austria, Canada, Finland and South Korea - accounting for 6.7 percent of world exports - have apparently gone in the opposite direction.

For the first time TI has evaluated China, India, Singapore and Hong Kong - each responsible for over two percent of global exports and parties to the UN Convention against Corruption - and places them in its “Little or No Enforcement” category.

“It is unacceptable that so much of world trade is susceptible to consequence-free corruption,” said TI chair Delia Ferreira Rubio. “Governments have promised to implement and enforce laws against bribing foreign officials under the OECD and UN conventions. Yet many are not even investigating major cases of grand corruption, which involve state-owned enterprises and senior politicians.”

The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention was adopted in 1997 to address the supply-side of international corruption. There are now 44 parties to the Convention, 36 of them members of the OECD, and collectively are responsible for more than 80 percent of world exports.

TI report author Gillian Dell added: “Authorities not only need a strong legal framework for going after businesses that pay bribes abroad, but proper resources for the agencies responsible. In many countries, the courts, as well as investigators and prosecutors of cross-border corruption crimes, have inadequate means to do their job.”

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