Strategic Competition and Optimal Parallel Import Policy
This paper shows that parallel import policy can act as an instrument of strategic trade policy. We demonstrate this result in two-country international duopoly where a domestic monopolist competes with a rival firm in the foreign market if it chooses to incur the fixed investment cost of exporting. The two firms sell horizontally differentiated goods and compete in prices. When the foreign market is significantly larger than the domestic one, the home firm gains if it is unable to price discriminate; its desire to not deviate too far from its optimal monopoly price in the domestic market makes it (credibly) less aggressive in price competition abroad which softens price competition and raises profits. On the other hand, when the foreign market is not significantly larger, it is optimal for the home country to forbid parallel imports since international price discrimination yields higher profits to the home firm. We draw out the implications of the two types of parallel import policies for global welfare.