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Competition Policy: The Poor Relation in the European Union Free Trade Agreements

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Chapter Summary

Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), and especially Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), have grown dramatically in number and importance since the early 1990s and they increasingly include chapters and provisions encompassing competition issues. All recent bilateral FTAs concluded by the European Union (EU) include provisions on competition policy. These concern anti-competitive practices that affect trade between the parties to the agreements and provide that competition authorities must, through cooperation, consultation, and/or mutual recognition, safeguard the benefits from the agreement by countering such practices. This chapter classifies and analyses the competition clauses in the EU FTAs. It analyzes the following questions: first, to what extent can these rules be and are in reality subject to a dispute settlement mechanism (DSM); second, what are the reasons for their exclusion from third-party arbitration; and, third, why does the EU agree with the conclusion of non-enforceable competition clauses as part of its bilateral agreements.

Keywords: dispute settlement mechanism (DSM); European Union (EU); Free Trade Agreements (FTAs); Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs)



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