Representatives of the United States and Israel today signed the fifth bilateral antitrust cooperation agreement entered into by the United States with major trading partners.
The accord, which is formally titled "The Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the State of Israel Regarding Application of Their Competition Laws," was signed in a ceremony at the Department of Justice. Attorney General Janet Reno and Federal Trade Commission Chairman Robert Pitofsky signed the agreement on behalf of the United States and Minister of Industry and Trade Natan Sharansky represented Israel.
The agreement will be implemented on a day-to-day basis for the United States by the FTC and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and by Israel's Antitrust Authority.
"This agreement on cooperation in antitrust matters is a natural outgrowth of the agreement that establishes a free trade area between the two countries, just as that agreement was a natural outgrowth of the increasing globalization of the world economy, and the close relationship between our nations," said Pitofsky at the signing. "The sound and effective enforcement of both countries' competition laws is a matter that is of importance to the efficient operation of markets within the free trade area and to the economic welfare of both countries' citizens."
The purpose of the agreement is to promote cooperation and coordination between the competition authorities in each country in order to increase the effectiveness of each party's antitrust enforcement as well as to avoid conflicts arising from the application of competition laws. The United States has signed similar agreements with the European Union, Canada, Germany, and Australia.
The accord between the United States and Israel, which is modeled on the other recent antitrust cooperation agreements, calls for each country to keep the other fully informed of its antitrust enforcement activities that may affect the important interests of the other. The agreement includes a provision on "positive comity" under which each side may notify the other when it believes anticompetitive activities in the notified country are having an adverse impact on the notifying country and may request the notified country to take the appropriate law enforcement action under its antitrust laws before the notifying country undertakes any enforcement action under its own laws. It also provides for the sharing of non-confidential antitrust information and evidence related to antitrust enforcement and it provides for regular consultations between the parties.
The Commission vote to approve the agreement was 4-0.
Copies of the full text of the agreement are available from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. P859910)