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In a debate concerning long term economic strategy, a representative of a left party was trying to support that privatisation and Small Government which minimizes its own activities is not a viable direction in a Global Economy, i.e. it will lead to a further loss of sovereignty in a sense that a country applies its policies mostly via the public sector, which if minimized will have insignificant impact. Then the opponent asked a simple, but intriguing question:

"Is there an example where a government owned company1 has a product that is competitive with a product of a private company?"

After a brief research I really couldn't find such example. Is there such an example and if not, what counter argument there could be presented against the above question?


1. Without the trivial and most frequent example of a monopoly.

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Yes, there are lots. Several state-owned energy companies succeed in international competitive markets, for example.

EDF is majority-owned by the French State, and is a successful competitor in energy markets in other countries; e.g. GB electricity retail.

DONG is majority-owned by the Danish State, and is a successful competitor in energy markets in other countries; e.g. UK offshore windfarm installation.

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