Monday, June 16, 2008
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
D. Daniel Sokol of the University of Florida Levin College of Law (i.e., me), has posted What Do We Really Know About Export Cartels and What is the Appropriate Solution?
ABSTRACT: This article responds to Florian Becker's article in the Journal of Competition Law and Economics, "The Case of Export Cartel Exemptions: Between Competition and Protectionism." Professor Becker provides a number of insights into various approaches that battling export cartels may take. I take issue with three of Becker's main themes. First, Becker underplays the importance of political economy issues in the creation and perpetuation of export cartel exceptions from antitrust. A public choice understanding of export cartels is critical to formulating any effective remedy for export cartels. Second, Becker assumes that export cartels are hard-core cartels and that they are a serious problem in international antitrust. In fact, there is very little empirical data on export cartels and nearly all of it comes from the United States. Therefore, it is difficult to say with any great certainty whether export cartels are a problem and how serious a problem they are. Third, Becker ignores the role that international organizations such as the OECD and ICN can play to reduce the effects of export cartels. After surveying different possible solutions, I propose a WTO transparency regime to more effectively address export cartels.