The effects of anticompetitive conduct within global value chains (GVCs) may be felt far from the place where the anticompetitive conduct originates. This creates a vacuum in competition enforcement.
The jurisdiction where the anticompetitive conduct takes place is not interested in investigating it, because its market is not affected. In contrast, the affected country can face legal challenges with asserting its jurisdiction over the case as well as run into other legal and technical challenges throughout the enforcement process. Although previous legal studies have analysed the extraterritorial application of competition laws and competition chapters enshrined into trade agreements, they did not address the specific problem of anticompetitive conduct that occurs within GVCs. This thesis fills this gap by answering the following question: How can competition and trade tools be used to tackle the anticompetitive conduct within GVCs?
To answer this question, this thesis examines the limits of public and private competition enforcement in the selected jurisdictions: the EU, US and Japan. It also analyses the WTO framework and the scope of competition chapters enshrined in trade agreements.
This thesis argues that the effects doctrine may justify extraterritorial application of competition law if the effects of the anticompetitive conduct are felt further down the supply chain. However, numerous uncertainties remain as to how jurisdictions apply this doctrine. Public enforcement can address the challenges better than private enforcement. As to trade instruments, the WTO does not offer viable solutions. Competition chapters need to be developed further and should be drafted taking into account the risks of anticompetitive conduct within GVCs.