Successive cycles of multilateral trade negotiations carried out within the GATT have led to a strong reduction in tariff barriers to trade within the industrialised countries. The benefits which these countries can still anticipate from the suppression of essentially non-tariff barriers to trade are moderate. The spread of economic openness, however, is shifting the issue at stake in multilateralism. The increasingly international activity of companies is destabilising national laws. The repeated conflicts arising over the rules of competition provide a good example of this. Competition policy, which is complementary to trade policy, can no longer be defined only nationally. Despite this, no consensus exists for including basic rules in this area within the Millennium Round.
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