The substantive elements of an antitrust cooperation agreement between the United States and Japan were announced today in Washington, D.C. The agreement, which will be finalized in the near future, will give the countries the ability to coordinate their antitrust enforcement more effectively.
The agreement, once finalized, will be implemented on a day-to-day basis for the United States by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division and by Japan's Fair Trade Commission. .
"As globalization progresses, we will increasingly rely on the competition agencies of our major trading partners, including Japan, for cooperation in order to maximize the effectiveness of our law enforcement," FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky said. "A constructive cooperation agreement between the United States and Japan is important to the economic welfare of both countries' consumers and businesses."
The agreement will improve the ability of both nations' antitrust agencies to coordinate and cooperate on proposed mergers which affect both countries, prosecute international cartels operating in the United States and Japan, and address anticompetitive activities in Japan that have the ability to create market access problems. The agreement also will help the respective antitrust enforcement agencies address anticompetitive conduct when U.S.-Japan commerce is at issue.
Key elements of the agreement in substance include:
Notification of Enforcement Activities: Each antitrust agency will notify the other of antitrust enforcement activities that may affect the other's important interests.
Enforcement Cooperation and Coordination, and Positive Comity: The antitrust agencies will consider cooperating and when appropriate consider coordinating their activities consistently with the other party's enforcement interests.
Positive Comity: Each antitrust agency will give careful consideration to a request by the other to take antitrust enforcement action against illegal behavior occurring within its country that injures the other party's interests.
Conflict Avoidance: The parties would consider one another's interests in carrying out enforcement activities. The agreement includes a non-exhaustive list of factors to be considered in this regard.
Consultations and Exchange of Information: The parties will consult with each other on matters which arise under the agreement. The parties agree to exchange antitrust-related information, within applicable confidentiality constraints.
Existing Laws: The agreement will be implemented in accordance with existing laws in each country.
Today's agreement will not change existing law in either country and is not a comprehensive antitrust mutual assistance agreement of the sort authorized by the International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994 and recently signed with Australia. The substantive elements of today's agreement are similar to provisions in the antitrust cooperation agreements between the United States and Canada, the United States and the European Union and the United States and Israel.
(FTC File No. 950101)