Countries that strictly enforce a worldwide pact against foreign bribery are far outnumbered and outweighed by those that turn a blind eye, a report published Wednesday by watchdog Transparency International found.
TI charged that 22 countries accounting for 39.6 percent of global exports practise "little or no enforcement" of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) 1997 Anti-Bribery Convention, which requires signatories to criminalise bribery of foreign public officials.
The list of slackers includes non-signatories like China and India, but also members of the pact like Mexico, Japan or Finland.
That compares to just seven countries, weighing in at 27 percent of global exports -- the United States, Germany, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and Israel -- classed as "active" enforcers of the agreement, the highest rating.
Since TI's last report in 2015, eight countries improved their level of enforcement, with Israel shooting from the lowest to the highest bracket as it successfully concluded its first-ever foreign bribery case and opened a slew of new ones.
But four countries also slid back in the classification, while China -- rated for the first time -- entered at the lowest level.
"The convention's fundamental goal of creating a corruption-free level playing field is still far from being achieved, due to insufficient enforcement," the authors wrote.
As the world's doughtiest exporter at 10.8 percent of the global total, they singled out China as a country with "special responsibility".
"China's performance regarding international anti-corruption standards influences attitudes and behaviour in other major exporting countries," the authors wrote.