Current global developments in antitrust display two chief characteristics. On the one hand, national legislation in this area has proliferated all over the world since the breakdown of the major socialist systems. Today, competition statutes are to be found in more than 80 countries and more than half of them took effect during the past decade. On the other hand, the broad discussion on future harmonization of national antitrust laws as well as on the pros and cons of an international antitrust code or agency has stimulated international cooperation and convergence at various levels.
Both strands require profound legal analysis in order to further a deeper understanding of the diverse national competition statutes as well as to pave the way towards global standards for the protection of competition against restrictions. Such standards are viewed as an adequate response to the challenges posed by the globality of markets.
Against this background, the present comparative study on Limits and Control of Competition with a View to International Harmonization is of particular importance for practitioners involved in international antitrust issues and for academics interested in this area. Conceived for the XVI International Congress of Comparative Law held at Brisbane in July 2002, it encompasses fifteen national and regional reports from selected countries. Major jurisdictions such as the United States, Australia and Japan are treated alongside such "newcomers" in antitrust as Argentina and Poland. Two regional reports covering the European Community and the MERCOSUR complete the picture.
Finally, a comparative General Report allows insights into the structural and institutional particularities of the jurisdictions considered and analyzes the harmonization potential in central areas of antitrust.