Over the past ten to fifteen years, there has been an explosion of bilateral and regional free trade agreements in Latin America (together, these are called "preferential free trade agreements" or PTAs). The purpose of PTAs is to increase trade, regulatory, and investment liberalization. As effective trade liberalization requires more than just a reduction of tariffs, PTAs include "chapters" in a number of areas of domestic regulation. These chapters address domestic regulation and create binding commitments to liberalize domestic regulation that may impact foreign trade. Among chapters that address domestic regulation, many of the Latin American PTAs include a chapter on competition policy. Conventional wisdom has been that such chapters play a critical role in trade agreements because they link antitrust with trade liberalization. My claim is that the conventional wisdom as to the effectiveness of these chapters has been overstated. Until now, the effectiveness of antitrust and competition policy chapters has remained unanswered. This article undertakes the first empirical analysis of Latin American competition policy chapters in PTAs.
D. Daniel Sokol, Order Without (Enforceable) Law: Why Countries Enter into Non-Enforceable Competition Policy Chapters in Free Trade Agreements, 83 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 231 (2008), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/148