Export Prices and Export Cartels (Webb-Pomerene Associations)

By Milton Gilbert; Paul D. Dickens | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII

CONCLUSIONS

This study was directed primarily toward answering a specific question: Can the existence of higher domestic than export prices be accepted as prima facie evidence of actions which are prohibited under the antitrust laws or, stated more broadly, does international price discrimination occur only under conditions of monopoly in one or more markets? It will be recognized that a comparison of domestic and export invoice or quoted prices may be entirely inappropriate in answering this question since such prices may merely reflect the costs involved in different terms and conditions of sale. Net factory realizations on domestic and export sales must be used to determine the difference, if any, between prices.

This investigation demonstrates that international price discrimination is not a sure siam of monopoly as that term is generally conceived. If one means by monopoly that an industry is composed of a single producer or that there is an explicit or tacit agreement among the producers of an industry controlling price or production policy, then it must be said that different, export than domestic prices is not clear proof of monopoly. Such price behavior can and undoubtedly does occur in monopolistic industries but it also often occurs in industries or firms which are not monopolistic as defined.

In this study of 76 cases, all of which sell in both domestic and export markets, it was found that 45 eases transacted at least some of their export sales at other than domestic prices. In 9 cases of this 45, export prices were sometimes higher than domestic prices but never lower, while in the remaining 36 cases export prices differed from domestic in both directions although lower prices were much more predominant. In only 6 cases was it found that all export sales were consummated at less than the domestic price. In only 21 eases of the 76 were export prices always identical to domestic prices. Thus more than two-thirds of this limited sample show some flexibility in export pricing policy.

It was brought out in chapter V that there were considerable differences in pricing methods and attitudes toward price policy among the 45 cases which had some variation between domestic and export prices. These differences in price policies cannot be summarized in this concluding chapter. It need only be emphasized, however, that a large majority of the cases were not monopolies--that is, instances of production being controlled by one firm or by several firms acting under an agreement. In the opinion of the investigator not more than 12 out of the 45 could be so classified.

The others, to be sure, are not instances of pure price competition such as one finds among producers of (say) wheat. The term monopolistic competition, as contrasted to pure competition, has been

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