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Is global convergence of competition law the answer? How East Asian challenges demonstrate the limitations of the convergence strategy Martin, Thomas

Abstract

There have been two prominent developments in transnational competition law over the last few decades: the global convergence of competition laws and the evolution of competition law in Asia. Curiously, research has seldomly focused on the interrelation between these two topics. This thesis examines the recent phenomenon of the global convergence of competition law regimes. The strategy whereby competition enforcement is becoming increasingly harmonized, at both the procedural and substantive levels, has received much scholarly acclamation in recent years. However, this research will cast doubt on the conventional wisdom that convergence is inherently positive, arguing instead that the case for competition harmonization may have been somewhat overstated. Through examination of the East Asian region, this thesis demonstrates the limitations of the strategy to converge global competition laws. Japan, South Korea, and China are salient examples of countries who have adopted a harmonized competition legislation, but due to the specific economic, political, and cultural contexts influencing each jurisdiction, have faced significant problems achieving the legal goals of competition law in practice. This thesis argues that there should be limits to the pursuit of global convergence in this area and emphasises the need to incorporate economic development considerations and cultural variations in future competition regimes.

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