The 2006 Bribe Payers Index (BPI) - based on the responses of more than 11,000 business people in 125 countries - showed India, China and Russia at the bottom of a list of the world's 30 largest exporting countries rated for their ability to stop companies bribing abroad.

Transparency International (TI), a corruption watchdog that carried out the survey, reported: "In the case of China and other emerging export powers, efforts to strengthen domestic anti-corruption activities have failed to extend abroad."

Turkey, which began talks to join the 25-nation EU last year, ranked just above them, raising what Transparency International said were "troubling questions" about its commitment to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) anti-bribery convention.

David Nussbaum, chief executive of TI, said: "Turkey's application to join the EU is being developed over the next few years and during those years this is one of a number of areas which will be very important for Turkey to tackle."
 
Reforms

Brussels has told Ankara that is must speed up reforms and open its ports to shipping from EU member Cyprus if its bid is to have a chance.

"Our advice to these countries is to give themselves the legislation that would allow them to prosecute their own state-owned enterprises or their own companies" 

Huguette Labelle, TI chair

The anti-corruption group has urged the governments of the three fast emerging economies to take a more active role in cleaning up the business practices of their companies.

The survey's results found companies paid bribes more often in developing countries, where the means to combat corruption are weak.

Huguette Labelle, chair of TI, said: "Our advice to these countries is to give themselves the legislation that would allow them to prosecute their own state-owned enterprises or their own companies.

"Bribing companies are actively undermining the best efforts of governments in developing nations to improve governance, and thereby driving the vicious cycle of poverty."

Switzerland, Sweden and Australia were the most effective in preventing their companies from offering bribes, with Britain ranking sixth and the US ninth.