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World Trade Organisation (WTO)

The EU has been at the forefront of discussions on a possible multilateral agreement on competition in the WTO. It sees competition policy as:

  • important for any well-functioning market economy;
  • a tool to help development;
  • an important potential lever promoting economic governance in the global trading system.

In 1996, the WTO created a working group on trade and competition. In 2001, when the “Doha round” of trade negotiations was launched (known as the Doha Development Agenda), it was decided that competition would be included.

However, no agreement on launching competition negotiations was reached at the WTO ministerial meeting at Cancun in 2003 and a subsequent WTO meeting in August 2004 decided not to pursue work on it in the Doha round. As things stand, therefore, all discussions on trade and competition within the WTO are currently suspended.

Related links
Trade and competition (European Commission Trade website)
Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy (WTO website)