International Competition Policy

International Competition Policy

Maintaining Open Markets in the Global Economy

Michael A. Utton

The book begins by setting out the principles of competition and trade policies, and then goes on to address the impact of market globalisation on what are usually thought of as traditional antitrust concerns. These include the analysis of the difficulties arising from collusion and other restrictive practices, government sponsored ‘voluntary co-operation’, vertical restrictions and market access, pricing strategies of dominant firms and international mergers, all illustrated with a number of prominent case studies. The author concludes with an illuminating discussion on the feasibility of international co-operation on competition policy, the faltering progress that has been made so far and the prospects for future advances.

Chapter 10: Towards an International Competition Policy

Michael A. Utton

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, industrial economics, international economics


I INTRODUCTION The previous chapters have illustrated the problems existing competition policy institutions have encountered as a result of increasing globalisation. They range from the fundamental (for example the use of a national rather than an international economic welfare standard to determine cases of alleged anticompetitive behaviour) to the purely administrative but nevertheless resource wasting (for example the requirements for multiple case filings in international mergers). The cases cited and the international frictions that they can cause, despite increased co-operation at some levels, have underlined the increasing need for the development of an international competition policy. So far actual progress on a multilateral level has been very limited, as the previous chapter illustrated. The existing institutions, largely designed for other purposes, seem to many observers to be unsuited for adaptation for competition policy. Yet the need for some constructive development, if the growth of world trade is to be maintained, has generated a host of proposals, some setting out in great detail how a newly established international competition agency could deal with the complex issues of market exclusion, international mergers, and dominant firm abuse of power. In section II of this chapter we review some of the main proposals that have been made over the past decade, focussing particularly on their feasibility, given the prevailing system of world trade and the existing institutions, rather than on some idealised system. In section III we then discuss the approach that is most likely to meet with some success given the enormous diversity...

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