The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice announced today that representatives of the United States and Brazil have signed a bilateral antitrust cooperation agreement. Brazil becomes the seventh important trading partner with which the United States has entered into such an agreement.
The accord, which is formally titled "Agreement Between The Government Of The United States Of America And The Government Of The Federative Republic Of Brazil Regarding Cooperation Between Their Competition Authorities In The Enforcement Of Their Competition Laws," was signed in a ceremony at the Justice Department. Attorney General Janet Reno and FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky signed the agreement on behalf of the United States and Minister of Justice Jose Carlos Dias signed for Brazil. The agreement becomes effective after approval by the Brazilian National Congress.
The agreement will be implemented on a day-to-day basis for the United States by the FTC and the DOJ's Antitrust Division and by the three antitrust agencies in Brazil: Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE); Secretariat for Economic Law Enforcement (SDE) in the Ministry of Justice; the Secretariat for Economic Monitoring (SEAE) in the Ministry of Finance.
Commenting on the signing, Chairman Pitofsky stated, "This agreement builds on the existing close relationship between the U.S. and Brazilian enforcement authorities. It also demonstrates further pursuit of the hemispheric goal of antitrust cooperation announced at the first competition Summit of the Americas held in Panama City late last year."
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, Australia, Israel and Japan. The accord between the United States and Brazil, 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; the notifying country 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. The agreement also provides for the sharing of non-confidential antitrust information and evidence related to antitrust enforcement and for regular consultations between the parties.
The Commission vote to approve the agreement was 4-0.
Copies of the agreement are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); 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.