The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice today published a "Communiqué" from the first "Antitrust Summit of the Americas." Antitrust authorities from 11 of the 12 nations of the Americas that have competition laws held the Summit in Panama City, Panama, on October 9. Recognizing the increasing integration of the global economy and the strong and increasing economic ties among their respective countries, the nations held the meeting in order to discuss a cooperative process that will ensure that competition laws in the Americas are applied effectively and in an analytically sound manner.
The Communiqué affirms that the benefits to all countries of open and competitive markets must not be compromised by anticompetitive behavior and in particular by cartel practices. This represents the first time the competition agencies of North, Central and South America have announced their common belief that collusive conduct is a central priority for competition policy in the hemisphere.
FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky was particularly pleased by the cooperation among the countries. "This Communiqué will ensure that all countries in the Americas use their competition laws appropriately to promote business growth and consumer choice."
The Communiqué, which was issued by the antitrust (or competition) enforcement authorities of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, states that the countries express their intention:
1) To promote an authentic competition culture among the market participants in their respective countries;
2) To affirm their commitment to effective enforcement of sound competition laws, particularly in combating illegal price-fixing, bid-rigging, and market allocation;
3) To cooperate with one another, consistently with their respective laws, to maximize the efficacy and efficiency of the enforcement of each country's competition laws, and to help disseminate the best practices for the implementation of competition policies, with emphasis on institutional transparency;
4) To encourage the efforts by those small economies in the region that do not yet have solid competition regimes to complete the development of their legal frameworks; and
5) To seek to advance these principles in the Negotiating Group on Competition Policy of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
The nations also established an electronic mail link between the enforcement agencies to improve communications and enhance cooperation throughout the hemisphere.