International Signals: The Political Dimension of International Competition Law Harmonization

Although many states have advocated for the internationalization of antitrust laws, the United States has resisted a multilateral solution. We place the conflict over antitrust laws within the larger framework of international relations and draw out some novel implications of the debate by connecting the harmonization of international economic laws with the promotion of international peace and security. The harmonization of global antitrust laws is imbued with a political dimension that confers political benefits on the United States.

By crafting institutions in which other parties must alter their domestic political structures, the United States receives a credible commitment from other states of their willingness to bear the domestic costs of adherence to the specific agreement under negotiation, helping the United States identify potential allies. Separating budding friends from probable foes is a critical task of international security, and the United States derives political benefits from international agreements in a way that transcends the substance of the agreements themselves.

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