FTC to Hold Public Workshop to Examine Competition Issues in Business-to-Business Electronic Marketplaces

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it will hold a public workshop on business-to-business ("B2B") electronic marketplaces on June 29, 2000. It will bring together designers, owners, and operators of B2B electronic marketplaces, and the buyers and sellers who use or wish to use them. The goal of the workshop is to enhance understanding of how B2B electronic marketplaces function and the means by which they may generate efficiencies, and to identify any antitrust issues that they raise. The workshop will be open to the public and the press.

B2B electronic marketplaces are software systems that allow buyers and sellers of similar goods to carry out procurement activities using common, industry-wide computer systems. Recent weeks have witnessed multiple announcements of plans to develop electronic marketplaces linking competitors with suppliers willing to meet their purchasing needs. While B2B electronic marketplaces may well create significant efficiencies, the arrangements may also raise certain antitrust issues.

The workshop will seek input from designers, owners, and operators of B2B electronic marketplaces; buyers and sellers who use or wish to use them; and antitrust practitioners and others familiar with the competition issues that they may raise. It will address the following questions, among others:

  • How do B2B electronic marketplaces work? What can they do?
  • What are the business reasons driving the creation of B2B electronic marketplaces? What new efficiencies can such marketplaces create?
  • What business reasons prompt buyers and sellers to be interested in using B2B electronic marketplaces?
  • What competition issues may be raised by B2B electronic marketplaces?
  • What are likely procompetitive benefits, and what are possible anticompetitive concerns?
  • What issues are relevant to structuring and implementing B2B electronic marketplaces so as to both realize efficiencies and avoid competition problems?

A list of additional questions to be addressed can be found in the Federal Register notice announcing the workshop.

The workshop will be held in Room 432 of the Federal Trade Commission Headquarters Building, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Any interested person may submit a written presentation that will be considered part of the public record of the workshop.

Written presentations should be submitted in both hard-copy and electronic form. Six hard copies of each submission should be addressed to Donald S. Clark, Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Submissions should be captioned "Comments regarding B2B Electronic Marketplaces." Electronic submissions may be sent by electronic mail to b2bmarketplaces@ftc.gov Alternatively, electronic submissions may be filed on a 3-1/2 inch computer disk with a label on the disk stating the name of the submitter and the name and version of the word processing program used to create the document.

For more information about the workshop, please contact Gail Levine, Assistant Director for Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, telephone (202) 326-3193, e-mail glevine@ftc.gov.

The Commission vote to authorize the publication of a Federal Register notice announcing the workshop was 5-0.

Copies of the Federal Register Notice 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; toll-free: 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.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Howard Shapiro
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Susan S. DeSanti
Director, Policy Planning