Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Center/Program

European Legal Studies Center

Abstract

Multinational corporations ("MNCs") operate today in an increasingly open global trade environment. While tariff barriers have collapsed dramatically, several states and numerous scholars have raised concerns that the benefits of trade liberalization are undermined by various non-tariff barriers ("NTBs") to trade, including the anticompetitive business practices of private enterprise. As a result, demands to link trade and antitrust policies more closely by extending the coverage of the World Trade Organization ("WTO") to incorporate antitrust law have gathered momentum over the last decade.1

Most advocates of a WTO antitrust agreement base their normative claims on largely intuitive assumptions about the necessity or desirability of international rules.2 The existing literature contains few examinations of the strategic situation that characterizes international antitrust cooperation and, as a result, has either completely ignored or largely mischaracterized the collective action problem that has impeded the efforts to negotiate any multinational antitrust rules. With the help of insights developed in game theory, this Article seeks to fill the gap in the current debate by analyzing the strategic interactions underlying states' attempts to seek convergence of their antitrust laws. Understanding why attempts to generate formal international antitrust cooperation have thus far been unsuccessful is a critical prerequisite for designing a normatively desirable international antitrust regime. By offering a more accurate descriptive account for the failure to reach a binding international antitrust agreement, the Article can also be expected to inform the normative debate on optimal international antitrust governance.

Comments

Please note that the copyright in the International Law Journal is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, and that the copyright in the article is held by the author.

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