Edited by Ariel Ezrachi
Chapter 1: Setting the scene: the scope and limits of ‘international competition law’
In the last decade the international community completed a transition which reshaped multinational dialogue and affected national enforcement of competition laws. With the support of multinational and regional initiatives, the current global competition landscape exhibits greater transparency and harmony. A record number of competition agencies speak an increasingly similar language and progressively coordinate their enforcement activities. Whilst the novelty of competition law is still apparent in some quarters, competition law enforcement as a whole exhibits more consistent application. Indeed, the terms ‘competition law’ and ‘international’ have never been so closely associated. Although domestic in its application, competition law reflects an almost global consensus on the benefits of free, competitive markets. This consensus has provided valuable momentum to a gradual process of assimilation of substance and procedure. It has affected distinct areas of competition law enforcement, in varying degrees, from coordination of cartel enforcement, to the alignment of merger procedures and merger appraisal and greater coherence in the analysis of unilateral and collusive action. In addition to increased international dialogue and assimilation of thought, multinational and bilateral collaborative efforts have played a paramount role in supporting capacity building and reducing system friction. Multinational investment is also noticeable in supporting young competition regimes in advocating the competitive market ideal and safe-guarding free markets.
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