International Antitrust Negotiations and the False Hope of the WTO

Bradford, Anu H.

The purpose of this Article has been to develop a more accurate description of the strategic situation surrounding states' attempts to align their antitrust policies and, with the help of those insights, to provide an explanation for why the many attempts to negotiate a binding international antitrust agreement have thus far failed. This Article has argued that while states should generally prefer seeking enhanced convergence of their antitrust laws to capture efficiency gains, a binding international agreement on antitrust has been difficult to reach for one of two primary reasons. First, cooperation has at times failed because some states have perceived the political and economic costs to exceed the expected benefits of cooperation. In th6 presence of the relatively low opportunity costs of not pursuing formal cooperation in antitrust matters, cooperation has not been a priority for the parties and, consequently, they have preferred focusing their efforts to achieve progress on more compelling matters on the trade agenda. Second, in situations where parties have concluded that cooperation is Pareto-superior to non-cooperation, cooperation has been obstructed by the simultaneous existence of a distributional problem and an informational problem.


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Harvard International Law Journal

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December 7, 2015