Factors Behind the Growing Importance of International Competition Policy
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Publish date: 2009-06-30
Gospodarka Narodowa 2009;232(5-6):21–38
The paper deals with a process defined as the internationalization of competition policy. The process was initiated by the Havana Charter in 1948 and gained momentum in the late 1980. The Havana Charter was the charter of the defunct International Trade Organization (ITO). It was signed by 53 countries on March 24, 1948 to facilitate international cooperation and allow for rules against anti-competitive business practices. The charter ultimately failed because the U.S. Congress rejected it. Elements of it would later become part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Despite the growing role of international trade, no multilateral agreement has been adopted since the Havana Charter to regulate competition policy issues, the authors say. Such an agreement is needed to reduce the number of trade disputes and promote international cooperation. The article aims to show the impact of regional integration and bilateral agreements between the European Union and the United States on the internationalization of competition policy. Another objective is to show the impact of international cooperation on multilateral competition policy and on difficulties in reaching a compromise in this area among World Trade Organization members. Finally, the paper sets out to examine factors that justify the need to include competition policy in the multilateral trading system. According to the authors, the high degree of domestic and regional market integration, coupled with the gradual liberalization of multilateral trade and the large number of trade conflicts, call for the introduction of viable multilateral competition rules.