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Which Future for Competition in the Global Trade System: Competition Chapters in FTAs

Valerie Demedts, Journal of World Trade 49, no. 3: 407–436, 2015

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Globalization increases international competition, but it also entails an intensified risk for abusive and anti-competitive behaviour. The European Union’s (EU’s) capacity to rise to this challenge depends on the international mode of governance it decides to pursue and the determination with which it does so. The EU has always been a strong advocate of competition law within a WTO context. Recently, however, it has been far more active on a bilateral level, embedding competition provisions in a wide array of agreements. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) constitute one of the venues the EU has chosen to include competition provisions. The evolution of the global trade system, and in particular the place of competition law within this system, is complex and uncertain. This article aims to contribute to the debate on whether, and if so, how competition regulation should fit into the global trade scheme, by focusing on competition chapters in FTAs. In order to fully assess their value, this contribution first analyses the need for such provisions, following which the past attempts of integrating competition in a trade context are studied, finally proceeding to an analysis and assessment of competition chapters in a selection of bilateral FTAs.

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