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Competition policy developing countries and the WTO
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 19:47 authored by Bernard Hoekman, Peter Holmes
Competition law (anti-trust in US parlance) is increasingly attracting the attention of trade policy officials in OECD countries, driven by domestic export interests who argue that anti-competitive practices impede their ability to sell goods and services in foreign markets. In 1996, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) created a Working Group to investigate the relationship between trade and competition policies, and negotiations on this subject may be launched at some point. Views on whether competition law disciplines should be incorporated into the multilateral trading system vary widely in both the policy and academic communities. Despite an ever-expanding literature on the subject, the debate remains contentious; there is no emerging consensus regarding whether and how to address competition issues in the WTO. This is reflected in the first report issued by the Working Group in late 1998, which simply recommended that discussions in the group be continued (WTO, 1998a). In this paper we review the 'state of the debate' from a developing country perspective. We start with some definitions of terms (Section 2) and a discussion of the point of view of the main protagonist at the WTO: the EU, US, Japan and the newly industrialised countries of East Asia (Section 3). We then consider the case for national competition legislation in developing countries (Section 4) and their potential interests in multilateral disciplines in this area (Section 5). The major options that may be pursued at the multilateral level are summarised in Section 6. Section 7 concludes.
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NotesPublished by Blackwell Publishers
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