The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it will hold public hearings on its Joint Venture Project beginning June 2, 1997. The hearings, as well as public comments, will allow the Commission to receive input on issues concerning business collaborations among competitors. Notice of the hearings and request for comments will be published in the Federal Register.
The Joint Venture Project, announced earlier this year and undertaken by the Commission in collaboration with the Department of Justice, is considering whether antitrust guidance to the business community can be improved through clarifying and updating antitrust policies regarding joint ventures and other forms of competitor collaborations. One outcome of the project could be development of additional guidelines to describe the antitrust analysis of joint ventures and other competitor collaborations.
Today’s announcement lists several questions on which the Commission currently is seeking comment and states that another opportunity for public comment is likely to be provided in the fall of 1997. "This set of questions seeks basic factual information concerning the nature of competitor collaborations prevalent in today’s markets," FTC Policy Planning Director Susan DeSanti explained. "It also gives the public an opportunity to identify the pertinent aspects of antitrust law most in need of clarification," she added.
For example, the Federal Register notice asks, "During the past few years, in what types of collaborations with competitors have businesses engaged and what have been the business purposes of those collaborations? . . . What were the perceived advantages and possible disadvantages of competitor collaborations as opposed to independent activity or merger? . . . [I]n what circumstances are competitor collaborations more or less likely to cause competitive harm?"
The vote to authorize publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0.
Those interested in submitting written comments must do so by August 1, 1997. Requests to participate in the public hearings should be submitted by May 16, 1997. Written comments and notices of interest in participating in the hearings should be addressed to Donald S. Clark, Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments should be identified as "Comment on Issues relating to Joint Venture Project." Additional information may be obtained from the FTC’s Policy Planning staff at 202-326-3712.
The Commission’s announcement, with a full list of questions, will be published in the Federal Register. Copies of the Federal Register notice are available from the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the Commission’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326- 2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 202-326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. P971201)