chapter  15
Pages 23

The conclusion of the Uraguay Round of negotiations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has led among other things to a sense that competition policy is coming to occupy an important place on the international agenda. This is partly because of the avowed desire of the GATT participants to replace trade policy instruments (whose use had been defended as necessary for policing competition but whose practice has often been avowedly protectionist) by a more objective and less discriminatory set of policy instruments for ensuring fair competition between firms in the international market place. It is partly because of a belief, not always explicitly articulated, that if the Uruguay Round achieves its purpose of increasing the proportion of the world’s output of goods and services traded across international frontiers, the opportunities for and temptations to anti-competitive behaviour by various parties will likewise increase. Increased trade may, it is feared, lead to increased anti-competitive behaviour. And finally, the growing importance of competition policy as an international issue is motivated by a sense that, regardless of whether competition policy interventions become more or less important over time, an increasing proportion of those that are undertaken will raise international issues with which the present set of national institutions with overlapping jurisdictions are increasingly ill equipped to cope.