Thursday, November 19, 2020
Competition laws are economic statutes aimed at promoting and protecting competition in markets. While there is general agreement about the types of conduct deemed to be detrimental to competition, the form and content of competition laws vary. The political economies of individual jurisdictions, and particularly their legal systems and cultures, mean that enforcement of individual provisions is often approached quite differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Even identical statutory provisions may be interpreted quite differently in different countries. What constitutes an appropriate competition law or policy? Various factors influence the competition law and policy choices of individual jurisdictions. These include the size of a jurisdiction, the nature of its markets, and its stage of economic development. Ultimately different jurisdictions choose their laws based on what they perceive to be suitable for their own circumstances. The following articles discuss more fully the competition regimes of Australia, French Polynesia and New Caledonia, which are all Pacific jurisdictions. French Polynesia and New Caledonia are technically overseas territories of France. New Caledonia has moved towards self-government, but it still depends on financial support from France. Australia is a constitutional monarchy theoretically governed by the Queen of England as head of state, although both the monarch and her vice regal representatives act in accordance with the advice of the government of the day. This material considers issues of commonality and divergence between those regimes, drawing conclusions about the approach to competition law and policy in the Pacific region. It asks: is there a uniform approach within the region?