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Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BHP: My Corporate Hero for Remaining Outside of a Government Facilitated Cartel That Hurts Developing World Consumers

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

I am not a particular fan of export cartels when it is clear that the effect is to hurt developing world consumers.  I am even less a fan of such cartels when they produce potash (Canpotex for those agencies out there looking to bring a potential price fixing case in your country- note that there are similar export cartels in Russia and Belarus), which is the fertilizer used in many developing countries. Higher potash prices mean that end consumers see the costs of food go up.  Essentially, the Canadian government is helping to price out the poor in the developing world from being able to afford enough to eat.

The Financial Times and Reuters both reported last week that BHP, as part of its Canadian operations, will not participate in the cartel.

Much of the time, antitrust scholarship focuses on firms that have done something bad - fixed prices or monopolized.  Maybe because we do not see good deeds as frequently, this day before Thanksgiving, let's give thanks to BHP Billiton for doing good in this world and not supporting a cartel that starves the world's poor.

HT: Andreas Stephan

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2011/11/bhp-my-corporate-hero-for-remaining-outside-of-a-government-facilitated-cartel-that-hurts-developing.html

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