While governments may pursue the goals of promoting international trade and investment, they nonetheless form policies and laws that restrict, prevent or distort competition in the market. Public restraints pose as much a challenge as private anticompetitive restraints. Opening up markets is not sufficient. It is imperative that a robust competition regime be put in place to correct the market-distorting measures adopted by governments, thereby ensuring a level playing field for all market-players. This chapter aims at illustrating that the success of liberalization of services market is directly related to the effective enforcement of a competition regime. While detecting and prosecuting private anticompetitive practices form a major part of the work of competition agencies, this chapter focuses on public restraints, which, when seen in light of commitments to liberalize markets, is more reprehensible conduct than private anticompetitive practices. The chapter, after highlighting different forms of government barriers to trade and competition, documents relevant case studies from Pakistan of public restraints affecting competition.
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