WTO Law and Economics and Restrictive Practices in Energy Trade: The Case of the OPEC Cartel
(2016) The Journal of World Energy Law & Business (Oxford) 9(6) 475-494
33 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2016 Last revised: 10 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 15, 2016
The World Trade Organization cannot deal comprehensively with restrictive export practices maintained by energy cartels such as the OPEC. The main reason for this is the absence of competition rules in the multilateral trading system. However, in spite of the fact that the WTO does not have rules on competition, it does provide for other rules, such as GATT Article XI on the General Elimination of Quantitative Restrictions. This article will take a law and economics approach and explore whether restrictive practices in the energy sector as maintained by OPEC could be caught by this article. It will analyse whether OPEC’s ‘monopolist market power instrument of choice’, namely the administration of production quota on petroleum, could fall within the definition of this Article. To this end, this contribution aims to understand the economic and legal rationales and functioning of both the WTO and OPEC.
Keywords: WTO Law, International Economic Law, Law and Economics, Antitrust, Competition, OPEC, Natural Resources, Energy, Quantitative Restrictions
JEL Classification: K33, K21, K00, F13, P28, Q41, F53, P48, N70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation