The desire for cheaper production has driven U.S. apparel brands to move most of their production overseas. Lower wages in those countries more than offset the typical added expenses of doing business abroad, such as shipping and duties. But in some countries, foreign businesses can also face demands from corrupt government officials for bribes for everything from allowing raw materials and trims through customs, to being assessed a fair amount of taxes, according to Jeremy Pope, executive director of Berlin-based Transparency International, an organization that tracks the use of public office for personal gain. His group last week released a scale ranking, based on polls, how corrupt the government officials in 102 major nations were perceived as being. The U.S. was ranked 87th least corrupt. Below, how the U.S.’ top 19 suppliers of textiles and apparel measured up, starting with the nation perceived as being most corrupt.

This story first appeared in the September 3, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.