Because of the extent of trade liberalization and globalization and the increased importance of foreign direct investment as an engine of growthin the economic environment, competition laws and polices are now becomingmore and more indispensable both in each country and in the internationalfield. In this note, I shall briefly outline the discussions of the WorkingGroup in the WTO and developed countries’ activities on it.
2) The Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and CompetitionPolicy
Since WTO rules have no clear mechanisms in place to deal with internationalanti-competitive practice, the WTO’s Working Group on the Interactionbetween Trade and Competition Policy has been discussing its three principalobjectives : (I) the securing of basic commitment by Members to adopt andenforce a competition law, (ii) the agreement on measures to address anti-competitivepractices: and (iii) the adoption of measures to strengthen internationalcooperation in this area.
There are many different arguments about the way to deal with relevantsubjects of Trade and Policy in the WTO. In Japan, the Ministry of ForeignAffairs (MOFA) seems to be rather positive to build basic standard of competitionlaw and to enforce among member states. On the other hand, the Ministryof International Trade and Industry (MITI) is not so convinced and it triesto deal with this subject in connection with anti-dumping.
In spite of these different arguments, it is clear that an implementationof a transparent and effective competition policy could be a key factorboth for enhancing the attractiveness of a national economy to foreigninvestment, and for maximizing benefits of such investment.
3) International Cooperation
Most of developed countries begin to support developing countries toenact the competition laws in parallel with the WTO. For example, the EUhelps transition countries to adapt competition laws. Also Japan Fair TradeCommission (JFTC) has assisted Asian counties. Before Thailand enactedits competition law, JFTC organized some conferences with Thai officials.
In spite of these efforts, only 67 countries have laid down competitionlaws and it is not clear how transparently those authorities enforce them.
Regarding measures to strengthen international cooperation, some authorities,eg. US-Canada, US- EU, and US-Japan, have begun to cooperate each othersince the 1990’s. These efforts are crucial for effective applicationof competition laws in the international field. They are indeed the firststep, but do not go far enough.
4) Conclusion Remarks
Trade liberalization and globalization have increased needs for transparentand rules-based enforcement of competition law in the international level.
Although developing common standard is important, its practice is moreessential. American Bar Association made a report and suggested that thestandardization of notification in this field should be modeled in usein US. Although it is not yet clear what kind of standards is good, itis clear that two of the proponents of multilateralism, EU and Japan, canand should exercise joint leadership in the negotiations in the WTO. Itmay will be effective to prevent unilateralism.
Philip Morris Japan 副社長