The Work of the WTO Working Group on the Interaction between Trade and Competition Policy


Notes for Presentation by Adrian Otten, Director, Intellectual Property Division

WTO Secretariat



Main stages in the work so far

  1. Existing WTO provisions

  2. The Singapore mandate

  3. The work programme of the Working Group (Checklist of Issues Suggested for Study)

  4. The 1998 report of the Working Group

  5. The 1998 Decision on further work


Main features of the 1998 report

  1. With the exception of the recommendation on further work, the 1998 report does not seek to be a report establishing consensus views. However, some important points emerge:

  1. The impact of anti-competitive practices of enterprises on international trade

  1. The impact of trade policy on competition

  1. The impact of state monopolies, exclusive rights and regulatory policies on competition and trade

  1. The relationship between competition policy and intellectual property rights

  1. The development dimension and investment


Where has the work reached?

  1. Most recent meeting held 19-20 April 1999. The discussion is now much more focused, implicitly or explicitly, on what action should be taken in the WTO framework:

  1. A range of possibilities are under discussion concerning the future role of the WTO:

  1. Some important considerations influencing views on these matters:

(i) A perception that the WTO, by promoting competition and the role of competition authorities, can not only contribute towards furthering the objectives of competition policy but also those of the multilateral trading system:

(ii) The development dimension:

(iii) The investment link:

  1. The educational role of the WTO:

  1. Suggestions for ways in which the WTO might enhance cooperation on a voluntary basis:

  1. Suggestions for a legally binding agreement. Possible elements:

  1. Treatment of trade measures from a competition perspective:


Some Seattle Issues

  1. Some options regarding a competition mandate:

  1. Some issues regarding a competition approach to trade remedies and other trade measures:

  1. The role of a competition component in demonstrating balance in the multilateral trading system, especially in the eyes of civil society.