The Changing International Status of Export Cartel Exemptions
37 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2004 Last revised: 16 Sep 2009
Date Written: November 10, 2004
In an attempt to create more consistently pro-competitive antitrust policies, many countries have eliminated or restricted antitrust exemptions for firms engaged in export activity. Of the fifty-six countries surveyed, we find only seventeen which offer exporters an exemption from domestic antitrust laws. Thirty-three countries provide no exemption from antitrust laws for export activity, but exempt such activity implicitly: their competition laws are silent on restrictive activities that affect foreign markets. Within the last decade, at least ten countries have rewritten their laws, moving from explicit exemptions to this more passive policy of speaking only to the domestic market. However, the construction of national antitrust laws that ban only activity that harms domestic competition leaves a vacuum in which export cartels can operate with no obvious institution to restrict their activities or limit adverse effects on competition. The elimination of reporting requirements has reduced the information that we have about their activities. International cooperation to regulate and prosecute collusive activity affecting international markets could rationalize these policies and promote competition more effectively than the current haphazard set of national laws.
Keywords: Competition policy, antitrust, collusion, market access, exporting trading company act, Webb-Pomerene act
JEL Classification: L41, L13, K21, K33, F13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation