UCL Faculty of Laws


Professor Ioannis Lianos publishes edited volume on ‘Global Food Value Chains and Competition Law’

13 May 2022

The volume, co-edited by Professor Ioannis Lianos, Alexey Ivanov and Dennis Davis, is published by Cambridge University Press.


Professor Lianos together with Alexey IvanovSkolkovo-HSE Institute for Law and Development and Dennis DavisUniversity of Cape Town School of Law have published a rich edited volume on Global Food Value Chains and Competition Law. Published by Cambridge University Press, the volume is the first book-length analysis of the phenomenon of global food value chains from a competition law perspective combining a truly global dimension (looking to the EU, BRICS, US) with an interdisciplinary perspective

Book description

The food industry is a notoriously complex economic sector that has not received the attention it deserves within legal scholarship. Production and distribution of food is complex because of its polycentric character (as it operates at the intersection of different public policies) and its dynamic evolution and transformation in the last few decades (from technological and governance perspectives). This volume introduces the global value chain approach as a useful way to analyse competition law and applies it to the operations of food chains and the challenges of their regulation. Together, the chapters not only provide a comprehensive mapping of a vast comparative field, but also shed light on the intricacies of the various policies and legal fields in operation. The book offers a conceptual and theoretical framework for competition authorities, companies and academics, and fills a massive gap in the competition policy literature dealing with global value chains and food.

The book is available on the Cambridge University Press website.

The book has already received great acclaim:

'This book is an invaluable contribution to the analysis of politically important, complex and often ignored competition issues related to the global food value chain. It discusses the intellectual property regime of fertilizers and seeds, the imbalance in negotiating power along the chain that have exploitative and exclusionary effects, the horizontal concentration reinforced by mergers and the role of international trade and cartels in a number of agricultural inputs, as well as the abuses of buying power by large scale retailers. It analyzes why competition law enforcement has largely failed to deal with those issues and provides a powerful and thought provoking invitation to rethink both the goals and the instruments we use. In short, it is a must read.'

Frederic Jenny - President, OECD Competition Committee

This collection is a ground-breaking exploration of a quiet global economic transformation by way of Global Value Chains epitomized by the food industry. Chapter by chapter, it paints a large canvass revealing new sources of power and describes how the gains are allocated (from vulnerable to powerful, from developing to developed countries).  This comprehensive book will surely prod major rethinking of the traditional paradigms of antitrust analysis to account holistically for the new global realities.'

Eleanor Fox - Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation at New York University School of Law

'Global Food Value Chains and Competition Law has a reach that goes far beyond the specialized technical focus suggested by its title. It deals with a subject of vast practical importance: food security for humanity. It asks how the world's population can be fed under a regime that prevents commercial intermediaries from seizing the lion's share of the gains of this most indispensable form of trade. It explores the ways in which producers in the food-producing economies can be fairly and attractively remunerated without putting the rest of the world on its knees. Competition and competition law represent only the surface of a solution.'

Roberto Mangabeira Unger - Roscoe Pound Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

'A really fascinating collection of different point of view, in a very complex and fast evolving area of law. The authors however maintain an impressive theoretical consistency and interdisciplinary ambition. This is legal scholarship at its prime.'

Ugo Mattei - The Alfred and Hanna Fromm Distinguished Professor Emeritus University of California Hastings. Professor of Civil Law, University of Turin, Italy