The laws that set the ground rules prohibiting firms from engaging in anti-competitive practices are usually called “antitrust laws” in the United States, and “competition laws” in Europe and other regions. Today, most nations, like the United States, have their own competition laws. These laws differ among nations, and each country enforces its laws independently. This lack of coordination leads to inefficiencies and confusion. In response to this, some observers argue that uniform global competition law should be adopted by international agreement. Enforcement would be handled by international organizations or coordinated among different nations.
These issues arise in discussions of global antitrust:
- Problems for multinational firms caused by differences between competition law in different countries, such as business practices that are illegal in one region and not elsewhere, or the potential for prosecution by many nations for one set of actions.
- The possibility that individual nations use competition law to give advantages to domestic firms or consumers, at the expense of foreign firms or consumers.
- The approaches used by national and international organizations, such as the United States government and the World Trade Organization, to handle competition problems across borders.
- The design and implementation of new global competition rules and the institutions that would enforce these international laws.
- Concerns that international enforcement organizations would be ineffective or susceptible to political manipulation.
TAP Academics researching global antitrust issues include:
of the University of Chicago Law School studies global competition policy and the design of international organizations.
“We are entering a new era in terms of having an increasing number of major players [in antitrust enforcement]... Just as we started to see more convergence [between the law in the U.S. and the E.U.] we had a new major player, China… and more than 100 countries that have antitrust laws of some kind.” From
“Interview with Anu Bradford on International Competition and Antitrust Laws
,” by TAP Staff, March 30, 2010
The International Competition Policy Advisory Committee
(ICPAC) was formed in 1997 at the U.S. Department of Justice to address the lack of coordination in global antitrust, and issued a report
before being disbanded in 2000. India established new competition law and enforcement institutions in 2002. China adopted its own competition law in 2007. The Courts and Competition Policy Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the “Impact of China’s Antitrust Law and other Competition Policies on U.S. Companies
” on July 13, 2010.
To view a calendar of events of relevance to TAP academic work, please see the TAP Events page