Friday, November 28, 2014

Multilateralism of Competition Policy: An Unassailable Pedestal for a World of Free Trade

Saloni Khanderia-Yadav, National Law University, Delhi describes Multilateralism of Competition Policy: An Unassailable Pedestal for a World of Free Trade.

ABSTRACT:The article delves to gain an insight into the relationship between trade and competition policy. With the failure of various attempts been made by various Ministerial Declarations in Singapore, Seattle, Doha and Cancun, and Organizations like the UNCTAD and OECD; a need is now felt to negotiate a multilateral agreement on an international competition policy. Considering the effects of anti-competitive measures crossing the borders, the article analyses the benefits of multilateralism as an unassailable pedestrian to an international competition policy. Though various Agreements such as the TRIPS, GATS, TRIMS and the Agreements on Safeguards; and provisions across the GATT-WTO, namely: Articles II: 4, III, X, XI, XVII, XX(d), XXIII(1)(b) and (c); have acknowledged the effect of anti-trust policies on trade across the border, it does not suffice; and the utility of multilateralism under the auspices of the WTO is now being felt. The aim of both the WTO and competition policy being to provide market access to all sans barriers, marked the birth of the Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy (WGTCP) established in the Singapore Ministerial Declaration in 1996, made its first attempt under the auspices of the WTO. It is recognized that globalization cannot merely be achieved by checking the governmental measures in the form of tariff and non tariff barriers; anti-competitive behavior by various private enterprises is what now constitutes a hurdle to liberalization to trade. Primarily, anti-competitive behavior in the form of horizontal and vertical restraints, abuse of dominant position/monopolization and mergers for the thrust of targeted actions must be banned. Hence, multilateralism will incorporate the best practices of the WTO such as the National Treatment, Most Favored Nation Treatment and the Transparency provisions may form the base of the negotiations. A truly international forum of dispute settlement is also predicted to be more trusted as a dispute resolver. It will make clear the practices that are considered anti-competitive and the market players that are subject to jurisdiction apart from exemptions, if any.

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