Achieving competitive neutrality


Competitive neutrality means that state-owned and private businesses compete on a level playing field. This is essential for the effective use of resources within the economy and thus the achievement of growth and development. While the principle of competitive neutrality is gaining wide support around the world, obtaining it in practice is a much more difficult question.


The OECD is engaged in multiple projects to assist policy makers in designing, adopting, and implementing appropriate policies. This page provides access to work completed to date.


State-Owned Enterprises as Global Competitors: A challenge or an opportunity?

08/12/2016 - An estimated 22% of the world’s largest firms are now effectively under state control. The upsurge of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) as global competitors has given rise to concerns regarding their competitive situation. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, the OECD has looked at the issues from the competition, investment, corporate governance and trade policy perspectives.


OECD Workshop on SOEs as global competitors

19/10/2016 - Some business competitors and observers claim that compensation granted by governments to SOEs in return for public policy obligations carried out at home as well as other advantages enjoyed by SOEs but not privately-owned firms can give SOEs a competitive edge in international markets. The challenge is that in a globalised economy, some state interventionist policies can have beggar-thy-neighbour effects. The risk of not addressing such concerns is that trade and investment partners may revert to protectionist responses, which in turn may discourage much-needed international investment. In this context, the OECD hosted a half-day dialogue on the topic of SOEs as global competitors. 


State-owned enterprises - Trade effects and policy implications, April 2013
With growing integration via trade and investment, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that have traditionally been oriented towards domestic markets increasingly compete with private firms in the global market place. This paper discusses the extent of state ownership in the global economy, the advantages and disadvantages that SOEs can face, and how potential SOE advantages can generate cross-border effects.


Competitive Neutrality: Maintaining a level playing field between public and private business, May 2012
Guidance to policy makers who want to make sure that the presence of state- owned enterprises in the market place does not thwart private entrepreneurs, skew competition or lead to other inefficiencies.


National Practices concerning competitive neutrality, April 2012
This report summarises the responses from 30 OECD countries and the EU to a comprehensive questionnaire concerning national approaches to competitive neutrality.


Compendium of OECD recommendations, guidelines and best practices bearing on competitive neutrality. April 2012
This report provides a full picture of existing OECD instruments, and related good practices and guidance, which may have implications for competitive neutrality.


Competitive neutrality and state-owned enterprises in Australia, August 2011
A comprehensive overview of the competitive neutrality framework in Australia following a period of profound competition reforms in the 1990s.


State-owned enterprises and the principle of competitive neutrality, 2009
This document compiles proceedings from 2 Competition Policy Roundtables: Application of Antitrust Law to State-Owned Enterprises; and, Corporate Governance and the Principle of Competitive Neutrality.


Competitive neutrality and state-owned enterprises, May 2011
This paper examines sources of competitive advantages and incentives for SOE managers, boards and government owners to use them and national approaches to countering these practices. It outlines options available to competition agencies to counter anti-competitive practices by SOEs and to help enhance competitive neutrality.


Accountability and Transparency: a Guide for State Ownership, 2010
This guide facilitates the practical implementation of the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of State-Owned Enterprises in the areas of transparency and accountability.  It shows, using specific examples, that improvement is politically feasible, taking into account the complex challenges that governments have to face.



G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance

Freedom of investment at the OECD

Towards a Level Playing Field between SOEs and Private Entities in ASEAN

Competition assessment toolkit

Fighting bid rigging in public procurement







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