The International Competition Network: Its Past, Current, and Future Role

51 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2011

See all articles by Hugh Hollman

Hugh Hollman

Federal Trade Commission; British Institute for International and Comparative Law

William E. Kovacic

George Washington University - Law School; King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Date Written: December 2, 2011


In its first decade, the International Competition Network has prospered, contributed to the development of widely accepted international policy norms, and come to exemplify the form of voluntary multinational collaboration that commentators have identified as a promising way to facilitate international ordering amid the global decentralization and diversification of economic regulations. This article takes stock of ICN’s achievements, considers why it has succeeded in many of its aims, and asks a number of questions regarding what comes next. It seeks to inform the ICN’s future by offering a way to think of its institutional characteristics to assess its relative advantages.

The ICN’s paramount goal is to facilitate convergence - the broad acceptance of standards concerning the substantive doctrine and analytical methods of competition law, the procedures for applying substantive commands, and the methods for administering a competition agency - on superior approaches concerning the substance, procedure, and administration of competition law with the expectation that if competition systems around the world opt in to superior techniques, they will achieve greater progress toward dismantling competitive restraints. The article begins by examining the convergence methods, specifically the four elements of ICN’s convergence strategy. It then discusses the context of the ICN within the major international competition networks that have played important roles in the development of international competition policy standards - OECD, UNCTAD, and the WTO. Finally, it looks at the ICC’s interaction with other multinational networks and considers how much the ICN’s convergence-related initiatives will reduce conflicts among jurisdictions with respect to the treatment of specific matters and whether ICN inspired convergence will suffice to eliminate transnational conflicts.

The authors see three major focal points for the ICN in the coming decade. The first is to build on its past successes and continue to pursue the identification and adoption of best practices with respect to substantive standards, procedures and the administration of competitive agencies. The second is for future ICN efforts to identify and make use of complementarities with the OECD and UNCTAD to provide a basis for the networks to identify areas in which collaboration will improve their collective effectiveness. The third is to examine and refine the ICN’s operational framework and determine whether its structure and operational forms are adequate to supports its current and future programs. Finally, the authors see major and administrative challenges ahead with problems of resources, financing, and management that must be resolved for the ICC to have a successful second decade.

Keywords: International Competition Network, Convergence, Competition Policy, Competition Systems, Best Practices, Non-Government Advisors, Multinational competition networks, OECD, UNCTAD

JEL Classification: K21, L40, D41, D42, F02, K33

Suggested Citation

Hollman, Hugh and Kovacic, William E., The International Competition Network: Its Past, Current, and Future Role (December 2, 2011). Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 20, p. 274, 2011, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 595, GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 595, Available at SSRN:

Hugh Hollman

Federal Trade Commission ( email )

600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States

British Institute for International and Comparative Law ( email )

Charles Clore House
17 Russell Square
London WC1B 5JP
United Kingdom

William E. Kovacic (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202.994.8123 (Phone)


King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Somerset House East Wing
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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