"Emerging Issues for Competition Policy in the World of E-Commerce"
Public Workshop on May 7-8, 2001
Remarks by Commissioner Sheila F. Anthony
In closing our workshop, I'd like to pick up on Chairman Pitofsky's opening comments from yesterday morning - because when I was thinking about what I wanted to say today, I couldn't help but reflect on the mission of the Federal Trade Commission. Ours is, first and foremost, a law enforcement agency, charged with promoting competition and protecting consumers. But we do more than bring cases under specific statutes and regulations. This agency is committed to the development and evolution of the law. One unique way we accomplish that goal is by holding workshops and hearings, which encourages a level of dialogue that we rarely can achieve in the context of a specific case.
Many of the panelists who have spoken over the last two days are "frequent customers" of the Commission, and a few more of you are out in the audience. When you visit this agency to advocate on behalf of individual clients in merger or conduct investigations, it can be difficult for all of us to step back and look at the big picture. But in the workshop context, we are drawn together by our common interests, not our adversarial ones. I thank all of our panelists for devoting their time to prepare for this workshop, and especially for showing up with their thinking caps firmly planted. Antitrust, perhaps more so than most other disciplines, cannot exist as a static set of rules. While certain well-established antitrust principles remain constant, their application constantly must adapt to changes in the marketplace. The dynamic new world of electronic commerce poses many challenges on that front. By coming together in this forum to share ideas and discuss actual market behavior, you help the enforcement community to figure out how to get it "right" - which, after all, is the bottom-line goal for those of us dedicated to serving the public interest.
Speaking of dedication to the public interest, I'd like to take just a moment to pay tribute to Chairman Pitofsky. I'm sure you will all agree that the level of scholarship at this agency has never been greater than during his tenure. When the Chairman steps down, the Commission will lose a wonderful teacher. However, he has instilled this agency with a true spirit of learning, which surely will be part of his enduring legacy.
Last, but not least, a great deal of credit also goes to Susan DeSanti - who, along with her staff in the Policy Planning office, organized this workshop, last year's B2B workshop, and several other workshops and hearings on a variety of topics. Please join me in thanking Susan and her staff for their efforts - and thanks again to all of you for joining us.