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Policy Contribution

Can EU competition law address market distortions caused by state-controlled enterprises?

The distortive effects that foreign state-owned or state-supported companies can have on European markets and on the European Union’s economic autonomy are starting to worry policymakers

By: and Date: December 18, 2019 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This Policy Contribution considers whether European competition law could be applied more directly to state owned enterprises that create an unlevel playing field in Europe due to the support they receive from their home governments. This issue is now a priority for many Member States and the European Commission given the impact on European economic autonomy. Competition law may not be the appropriate tool for addressing the granting of illegal subsidies or other forms of support in third countries but it may be more effective than previously thought in dealing with the effect of state-owned entities that distort the internal market. If SOEs are not be resource-constrained or even profit maximising, such SOEs could be unconstrained by competitive pressures and therefore possess a de facto level of market power. By evolving existing exclusionary antitrust theories of harm, such as predatory pricing, to fit the specificities of SOEs, this Policy Contribution argues that it should be possible to add further tools to the EU’s toolbox. In any event, as part of its efforts to address the distortive effects of foreign state ownership and subsidies in the internal market, the Commission should develop a coherent and proactive competition policy to provide guidance to the market.

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Upcoming Event

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Academic lecture: International technology competition

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 3 - On the final day of the Annual Meetings, our Director Guntram Wolf sits with Keyu Jin to discuss international competition policy.

Speakers: Keyu Jin, J. Scott Marcus and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Palais des Académies, Rue Ducale 1, Brussels
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Working Paper

Stability of collusion and quality differentiation: a Nash bargaining approach

How do incentives to collude depend on how asymmetric firms are? For low levels of differentiation, an increase in quality difference makes collusion less stable. The opposite holds for high levels of differentiation.

By: Thanos Athanasopoulos, Burak Dindaroglu and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 15, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

New kid in the playground: China's antitrust push

How is China’s antitrust push being weaponised to counter western sanctions?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 12, 2021
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Working Paper

Research and innovation policies and productivity growth

Can research and innovation policies power growth? The answer currently can only be a timid yes. Too little is known of what drives the actual effects of R&I policies.

By: Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 10, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Declining competition: a transatlantic challenge

Join us for a discussion of transatlantic competition with Kristalina Georgieva, Margrethe Vestager and Amy Klobuchar among others.

Speakers: Romain Duval, Kristalina Georgieva, Greg Ip, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Rose, Tommaso Valletti, Margrethe Vestager, David Wessel and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 15, 2021
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Policy Contribution

China’s state-owned enterprises and competitive neutrality

The concept of competitive neutrality can be used to assess how far a market is from being a competitive environment. In China, competitive neutrality is lacking, with state-owned firms favoured in most sectors, even over Chinese private firms.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Gary Ng Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: February 23, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

The state strikes back

COVID-19 has caused a resurgence of the role of the state. State ownership can help reduce effects from shocks to the economy but state-owned firms often suffer from weak governance and lack of innovation. What role should state owned firms and banks play and how can their management be improved?

Speakers: Beata Javorcik, Katarina Mathernova and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 1, 2020
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Blog Post

Europe is losing competitiveness in global value chains while China surges

The European Union owes much of its economic weight to its regional value chain and integration into the global value chain. But the EU’s global value chain role is shrinking, and while EU trade integration with China is increasing, it is mainly to China’s benefit, undermining the EU’s external competitiveness.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and David Martínez Turégano Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 27, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

Digital Platforms, Regulation and Competition: What's next for Europe?

Will the new rules of the internet go far enough for consumers and creators? Should we regulate platforms or will a code of conduct suffice?

Speakers: Diane Coyle, Jorge Padilla, Georgios Petropoulos and Alex A. Saliba Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 26, 2020
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Working Paper

Digital platforms and antitrust

The market power of online platforms raises concerns that they may engage in anti-competitive practices, but traditional (ex-post) antitrust intervention will be less effective in markets driven by network effects unless it is combined with a proper (ex-ante) regulatory framework. Intervention should not reduce value creation, should focus on fair sharing of value, and should eliminate incentives for anti-competitive strategies.

By: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos and Marshall Van Alstyne Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: November 23, 2020
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Past Event

Past Event

How to keep a competitive environment while engaging with non market economies?

How can we ensure fair competition between European firms and Chinese state-backed players?

Speakers: Julia Anderson, Helge Berger, Michiel Boots, Alicia García-Herrero, Carles Esteva Mosso, Frédéric Jenny, Georgios Petropoulos, Cian Ruane, Hylke Vandenbussche and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: November 19, 2020
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Blog Post

Not all foreign investment is welcome in Europe

A new plan to tackle foreign subsidies would empower the European Commission to investigate foreign investments in the European Union, with Chinese investment particularly in the spotlight. This increased scrutiny could deter some investors. Overall however, fairer competition is worth some lost opportunities.

By: Julia Anderson Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 10, 2020
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