Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation

Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation

Edited by Colin Robinson

Governments, Competition and Utility Regulation continues the series of annual books, published in association with the Institute of Economic Affairs and the London Business School, which critically reviews the state of utility regulation and competition policy.

Chapter 1: Competition policy and trade: the WTO after the Cancun Meeting

Frédéric Jenny

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public sector economics


Frédéric Jenny The question whether international trade rules should be complemented by competition rules has been hotly debated in the World Trade Organization (WTO) since the end of the Uruguay Round when the European Union (EU) obtained the creation of working groups on four ‘new’ issues: trade facilitation, transparency on procurement markets, investment and competition. Several questions were examined by the WTO Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy: what is the relationship between competition and international trade? Would a competition agreement benefit developing countries? What is the EU proposal on competition? At the Cancun Ministerial the Singapore issues figured prominently in the discussions but, as is well known, no agreement was reached on any issue. It is thus important to ask what positions were expressed on the issue of competition at Cancun and under what conditions the negotiating process on this issue could go forward in the near future. This chapter is divided into six sections. The first gives examples of transnational anticompetitive practices which restrain trade to illustrate the problem of governance of international markets. Section 2 examines the economic consequences for developing countries of some transnational anticompetitive practices. Section 3 discusses the differences of approach between trade and competition officials. Section 4 offers possible solutions to the problem of trade and competition interaction. Section 5 describes the state of play before Cancun and section 6 gives an account of the failed Cancun negotiations. Finally, the conclusion provides some views on how...

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