Chapter 12: Antitrust Policy in an International Perspective
I Introduction At a number of points in previous chapters, the importance for antitrust policy of international trading relations has been apparent. When discussing single firm dominance, for example, the definition of the ‘market’ was crucial and, in many instances, the correct definition may extend way beyond the national boundaries of a particular country. Indeed, as we saw, there is distinguished but controversial support for the view that, where imports into a country already occur, the whole foreign productive capacity should be included in the relevant market. Similar points can be made when trying to assess the potential market power effects of a proposed merger. In contrast, when discussing cartels, we noted that agreements formed solely to promote exports frequently escape prosecution altogether. The danger that collusion in one phase of companies’ operations would spill over into other phases is thus thought to be outweighed by the benefits of promoting sales in other countries. Thus the fact that most companies operate in an international rather than a purely domestic market environment impinges directly on antitrust policy in a number of ways. The list is readily extended. For example, if country A promotes its exports by allowing collusive behaviour, is it in the economic interest of recipient country B to restrain the resulting imports through its own antitrust policy? Do special factors apply to a merger between a leading domestic producer and a company registered and operating mainly abroad? A country may, as we saw in Chapter 5, attempt to eliminate...
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