Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy
This is one of the so-called “new issues” in the WTO, addressing how domestic and international competition policy instruments, such as antitrust or competition laws, interact with international trade.
In July 2004 the General Council of the WTO decided that the interaction between trade and competition policy (in addition to investment, and transparency in government procurement) would no longer form part of the Work Programme set out in the Doha Ministerial Declaration and therefore that no work towards negotiations on any of these issues will take place within the WTO during the Doha Round.
Brief information about competition policy work in the WTO
Links to the section on competition policy in the WTO Guide “Understanding the WTO”.
Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy (WGTCP)
As a result of the Ministerial Conference in Singapore (1996), the Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy (WGTCP) was established to study various aspects of this issue, with the participation of all WTO Members.
Under the Doha Ministerial Declaration (2001), the study work within the Working Group was focusing on the clarification of:
– core principles, including transparency, non-discrimination and procedural fairness
– provisions on hardcore cartels;
– modalities for voluntary cooperation; and
– support for progressive reinforcement of competition institutions in developing countries through capacity building.
The Working Group is currently inactive but the WTO Secretariat continues to respond to national requests for technical assistance in this area for the benefit of interested WTO Members and countries seeking accession to the WTO.
Documents of the Working Group
History, Mandates and Decisions
Technical Assistance in regard to Trade and Competition Policy
Technical Assistance activities include symposia, regional and national workshops, sometimes undertaken in co-operation with other multilateral agencies.