OECD Trade Policy Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected trade policy studies prepared for use within the OECD.

NB. No. 1 to No. 139 were released under the previous series title OECD Trade Policy Working Papers.


International Trade and Investment by State Enterprises

The recent surge in competition between state and private firms in global markets calls for a reflection on how to minimise any potentially distortionary effects on international trade and investment created by state enterprises while at the same time restraining any undue protectionist policy responses directed at them. This paper provides an assessment of the extent and nature of existing and potential problems as well as a stocktaking of regulatory approaches that can be used to alleviate them. The new empirical evidence on the extent and nature of existing problems presented in this paper comes from the OECD Business Survey on State Influence on Competition in International Markets conducted on 157 firms in 2014. The characterisation of the regulatory landscape draws on the information contained in the OECD Database on National Practices and Regulations with Respect to State Enterprises which comprises 41 indicators covering relevant practices and regulations across 43 countries. In conclusion, cross-border effects of state enterprises remain an important policy issue but views on how to obtain a more level international playing field differ across countries. Further consideration of the definition of entities which should be the focus of guidance of potential international disciplines would be an important area for future exploration and, crucially, would require greater transparency both from the governments and the entities under their influence. These discussions should not be limited only to state-owned entities, but should be extended to a broader spectrum of state firms. In the meantime, it is important that governments neither use state enterprises to influence competition in international markets, nor unduly discriminate against foreign state enterprises that trade and invest according to market principles.


Keywords: WTO, international investment, international trade, business surveys
JEL: F6: International Economics / Economic Impacts of Globalization; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; H57: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies: Procurement; L3: Industrial Organization / Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise; H4: Public Economics / Publicly Provided Goods; F02: International Economics / General / International Economic Order and Integration; F23: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / Multinational Firms; International Business; H2: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue; F21: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements; L44: Industrial Organization / Antitrust Issues and Policies / Antitrust Policy and Public Enterprises, Nonprofit Institutions, and Professional Organizations; K2: Law and Economics / Regulation and Business Law; H7: Public Economics / State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations; H8: Public Economics / Miscellaneous Issues; H1: Public Economics / Structure and Scope of Government; G38: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation; K33: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / International Law; G34: Financial Economics / Corporate Finance and Governance / Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance; L5: Industrial Organization / Regulation and Industrial Policy; F5: International Economics / International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
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