The WTO as a Supranational Competition Authority

By Keith R. Fisher
June 03, 2007
There has been a significant wave of transnational mergers and acquisitions this past decade, a wave as significant in its frequency (i.e., sheer numbers of transactions) as in its amplitude (the size of those  transactions). Reductions in trade barriers have enabled increased foreign investment, and many multinational enterprises (MNEs) have found it most expedient to expand overseas operations by acquisition of existing businesses rather than de novo. By the 1990’s, this trend toward increased transnational M&A activity had greatly accelerated, with business characterized by ever-more-rapidly evolving technology, and timeliness of entry or expansion in a given market becomingly increasingly crucial. Total dollar amounts of global M&A activity rose dramatically during 1995-1999, with approximately eighty percent of those transactions involving American and European firms. In response, there has been a veritable explosion of national competition laws, resulting in a massive increase in review of individual transactions by the competition authorities of multifarious jurisdictions....