Promoting Competition in Global Markets: A Multi-National Approach

Promoting Competition in Global Markets: A Multi-National Approach

Promoting Competition in Global Markets: A Multi-National Approach

Promoting Competition in Global Markets: A Multi-National Approach


This book sheds new light on a major issue on the international trade policy agenda - the promotion and defence of competition in globalizing markets. The liberalization of cross-border flows of goods, services and capital that has occurred during the last decade has made competition increasingly important. The authors discuss multi-national approaches to competition policy in the WTO, European Union, the Americas, OECD, UNCTAD and CER. They investigate the policy responses to anti-competitive, cross-border business transactions and argue that a growing reliance on competition law is not in itself sufficient to promote competition in globalizing markets. They conclude that to achieve genuine competition in globalizing markets, policymakers must have a more comprehensive and coherent policy governed by agreed competition principles.


A growing international interest in policies to promote or defend competition is accompanying globalization of markets. This reflects in part the increased market orientation of government policies -- as these are substituted for government planning and intervention -- and the growing recognition of the key role that competition plays in efficient markets.

'Competition policy' has been defined variously but it has become the shorthand label for a set of competition issues and the related research and policy work in numerous international agencies (including the oecd, wto and UNCTAD) and country groupings (including eu, cer, apec and the FTAA). It is not surprising that the wto in its 1997 Annual Report (WTO, 1997a, Chapter 4) and unctad in its World Investment Report for 1997 (UNCTAD, 1997, Part 2) chose as their themes the relationship between competition policies and, respectively, international trade and foreign direct investment. the international surge of research pertaining to an array of competition issues and policy responses has enormous education value and is contributing to a better understanding of the issues and their implications for business and consumers.

This book is about the promotion of competition in globalizing markets and the role of inter-government cooperation in setting the policy environment for competition. in large part it focuses on concerns about cross-border private business transactions that could interfere with the competitive process as markets are enlarged, but no chapter attempts a review of national or regional laws. This focus reflects the state-of-play internationally and the extensive efforts being made, particularly by international agencies, to address the perceived risk that competitionreducing private conduct could undermine competition-inducing government actions (including trade liberalization and deregulation).

In large part, as a result of us advocacy and the importance attached to competition law in the context of eu membership, there has been a significant adoption of national laws which target anti-competitive business conduct and acquisitions. Many national governments, regional groupings and international agencies see competition law as the principal or ultimate guardian of the competitive process.

When it comes to the international dimensions of 'competition policy' there is a diversity of view among countries. the United States leads the debate but it takes a comparatively narrow view. Itself under attack for its extraterritorial use of anti-trust and its threats of unilateral trade remedies, it has unquestionably helped focus international attention on the potential for cross-border business transactions to interfere with the competitive process.

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