The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice today issued revised Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation. These guidelines update the 1995 Antitrust Enforcement Guidelines for International Operations and provide guidance to businesses engaged in international activities on questions that concern the agencies’ international enforcement policy, as well as the agencies’ related investigative tools and cooperation with foreign authorities.
The revised guidelines reflect the growing importance of antitrust enforcement in a globalized economy and the agencies’ commitment to cooperating with foreign authorities on both policy and investigative matters.
“The agencies’ enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws now frequently involves activity outside the United States, increasingly requiring collaboration with international counterparts,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The Guidelines we are issuing today explain to the business and antitrust communities our current approaches to international enforcement policy and related investigative tools, and cooperation. They are the product of the excellent working relationship between our two agencies,” she added.
“Anticompetitive conduct that crosses borders can adversely affect our commerce with foreign nations. The Department’s antitrust enforcement is focused on ending that conduct in order to protect consumers and businesses in the United States,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse, in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
“The Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation released today provide important, up to date guidance to businesses engaged in international operations on our enforcement policies and priorities; the changes we have made to the international guidelines, last issued in 1995, reflect developments in the department’s practices and in the law over the last 22 years. Developed jointly with the FTC, the Guidelines are another powerful example of the benefits of collaboration between our agencies,” she said.
The revisions describe the current practices and methods of analysis the agencies employ when determining whether to initiate and how to conduct investigations of -- or enforcement actions against, conduct with an international dimension. The Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation are different from the 1995 guidelines in several important ways. In particular, they:
- Add a chapter on international cooperation, which addresses the Agencies’ investigative tools, confidentiality safeguards, the legal basis for cooperation, types of information exchanged and waivers of confidentiality, remedies and special considerations in criminal investigations;
- Update the discussion of the application of U.S. antitrust law to conduct involving foreign commerce, the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, foreign sovereign immunity, foreign sovereign compulsion, the act of state doctrine and petitioning of sovereigns, in light of developments in both the law and the Agencies’ practice; and
- Provide revised illustrative examples of the types of issues most commonly encountered.
The agencies issued proposed revisions for public comment on November 1, 2016, and received comments from practitioners, academics, economists, and other stakeholders. Public comments can be found at https://www.justice.gov/atr/guidelines-and-policy-statements-0/antitrust-guidelines-international-enforcement-and-cooperation-2017.
The Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation are available on the Department’s website at https://www.justice.gov/atr/internationalguidelines/download and the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov/InternationalGuidelines.
The FTC vote approving the 2017 Antitrust Guidelines for International Enforcement and Cooperation was 3-0.
The Federal Trade Commission works with foreign governments to promote international cooperation and sound policy. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases and the FTC International Monthly for the latest FTC news and resources.
Office of Public Affairs
Elizabeth Kraus, Deputy Director for International Antitrust
Office of International Affairs, Federal Trade Commission
Lynda Marshall, Chief, Foreign Commerce Section
Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice