Competition law in the international domain: Networks as a new form of governance

Imelda Maher*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Central to the internationalization of competition law has been the emergence of transnational networks of competition officials and experts. These networks have operated in three main areas: co-ordination on enforcement; technical assistance; and moves to develop overarching competition principles at the level of the WTO. The debate over the nature of internationalization of competition norms has fallen into three phases: early failures mainly due to the lack of any network; politicization of competition policy within a UN context followed by the emergence of a network primarily focused on the OECD. The current phase concerns coordination and the attempt to develop a competition law regime at the WTO level. This process is spearheaded by the European Union, with the United States of America favouring bilateral agreements on enforcement and technical assistance only. The way the debate has changed over the past ten years and how the two main protagonists have modified their positions, is indicative of the influence and importance of networks which, while they may give rise to formal agreements, can operate through soft power and persuasion. What emerges from the analysis is the centrality of these networks to this important aspect of contemporary international governance. They supplement rather than replace more traditional forms of internationalism and, while they may fundamentally regard themselves as technocratic, deriving legitimacy from outputs, current pressures on international policy making require them to attend to the process aspects associated with legitimacy of democratic regimes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-136
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Law and Society
    Volume29
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002

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