International Competition Rules: The Existing Framework
Petros C. Mavroidis
Economy and Society
Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano
This paper argues that externalities stemming from inadequate use of domestic competition laws are hard to measure and if at all that practice shows that they are rather unimportant. On the other hand, the existing framework (unilateral bilateral / multilateral), if used properly, can provide at least some answers to the questions raised by proponents of international competition rules. The next logical question would be why is the current system not used then ? Even if good arguments can be advanced justifying the reticence of states to have recourse to the existing framework, the careful study of what exists will help interested parties to avoid the same mistakes in the future shaping of international competition rules. The paper adopts as working hypothesis the agenda of the proponents of international competition rules, as expressed in various documents, and then tries to “match” the proposed agenda against the existing framework. It concludes that clarifications may be needed as far as the expression of current rules is concerned but, most importantly, that proponents of international competition rules should care more about the shaping of institutions to deal with those issues, rather than take if for granted that the existing multilateral framework (World Trade Organization, WTO) can aptly accomplish the task.