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A majority of the business individuals interviewed for the index said the number of ‘touches’ a company must have with government is the most important indicator of bribery risk.MURAD SEZER/Reuters

Canada is rated second among countries with the lowest business bribery risk in a new index covering 197 states.

Out of a maximum of 100 – the higher the score the higher the bribery risk – Canada got a 22 in the Trace Matrix, launched Tuesday.

Ireland is first with a score of 20.

The United States is in 10th place with a 27.

Other countries in the top 10 are New Zealand (23), Hong Kong (23), Sweden (23), Finland (24), Singapore (26), Japan (26) and Germany (27).

Nigeria is the worst-rated country, with a score of 97.

The index, published by non-profit anti-bribery compliance solutions provider Trace International, comes amid calls by a coalition of Canadian business groups for Ottawa to suspend its new anti-corruption rules on grounds they are unduly harsh.

The new federal regime being proposed would require companies looking to sell products or services to Ottawa to certify they have not been charged with corruption, including bribery and fraud, anywhere in the world in the past 10 years.

The Trace Matrix calculates a composite score for each country based on four domains: business interactions with government, anti-bribery laws and enforcement, government and civil service transparency, and the capacity for civil society oversight, including the role of media.

A majority of the business individuals interviewed for the index said the number of "touches" a company must have with government is the most important indicator of bribery risk.

Among the fast-rising BRIC countries, India was far down the list in the 185th spot (a score of 80), with Brazil in 149th position (69). China is ranked 137th with a score of 66 and the Russian Federation is 134th with 65.

"We have heard from the business community for years that a tailored tool to gauge levels of commercial bribery was needed," Alexandra Wrage, Trace president said.

"There are some excellent indices currently available, but these are either very broad, measuring perceived corruption across all spheres of society, or very narrow, measuring just one factor."