Proudly South Africa campaign: the interplay between particular global trade policies and competition mechanisms with specific focus on the role of the WTO in developing an international competition policy.
Swinny, Tamlyn Sandra Ren.
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This paper centres on a consideration of the ‘Proudly South Africa’ campaign and whether it is compliant with the general operations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the National Treatment Policy in terms of Article III of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). By extension, this research questions the relationship between trade and competition in the international context and the shortfall therein. The current method of competition regulation in the form of national competition legislation and policies, and bilateral competition agreements, is proving insubstantial, and susceptible to inconsistency, due to the overlap in regulation. Therefore, a single regulatory body is necessary to ensure uniformity. The GATT expanded from its formative years of 23 signatories, to its evolution into the WTO, the de facto global trade organisation, boasting a membership of 164 countries. This research essentially considers whether the WTO can replicate its success under the GATT and, in turn, act as the pinnacle of a world competition organisation or forum, given the overlap in nature between trade and competition. By discussing, how developing countries are affected by the lack of uniformity where competition regulation is concerned and whether the WTO’s intention to promote international trade and competition has had the converse effect of hindering competition by limiting market access. Further, whether such obligations have proved too restrictive on developing and least developed member states, this research considers the role of the WTO in developing a competition regime, and whether there is potential for such a body to be created in a similar vein to that of the development of the WTO. The proposal of this research is that the involvement of the WTO is integral, both from the perspective of its ability to rally its members, and to ensure there is no conflict between the two prospective international bodies. However, in order to ensure competition remains at the focus of this establishment, and is not over shadowed by trade requirements, and to ensure developing countries’ needs are taken into account, the WTO should play more of an advisory role, than act as the dominating body.