FTC to Host Workshop on Emerging Issues for Competition Policy in the E-Commerce Environment

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The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it will host a public workshop at its Washington D.C. headquarters on May 7 and 8 to explore certain competition issues that arise in connection with business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce. The Commission has approved a Federal Register notice, to be published shortly, that describes the topics and questions to be addressed at the workshop. Interested parties are invited to attend or to submit written presentations.

The workshop will continue the dialogue initiated at the FTC's B2B workshop in June 2000. It will build upon the foundation laid at that workshop for understanding how to answer traditional antitrust questions in the context of new e-commerce technologies.

The May 7 session will invite antitrust practitioners, economists, and business representatives to examine B2B mergers, interoperability, and operating rules against the background of specific hypotheticals. The goal is to elicit more information about varying approaches to competition issues that may be raised by B2Bs and to analyze certain issues not addressed at the June 2000 workshop.

The May 8 session will examine selected issues associated with online distribution and marketing. Rather than debating familiar, long-standing issues, the session will focus on new fact patterns and selected competition policy issues that may arise in distribution and marketing over the Internet, in conjunction with or in comparison to offline distribution. The session will explore such issues as price and promotional coordination between online and offline distribution channels, sole online distributorships, exclusive dealing over the Internet, and the role of information-collection technologies in online distribution.

An agenda, a set of discussion hypotheticals, and additional information relating to the workshop will be posted in advance of the workshop on the Commission's Web site, http://www.ftc.gov/opp/ecommerce.

The workshop will be held in Room 432 of the Federal Trade Commission Headquarters Building, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. It will be open to the public and the press, without fee, and advance registration is not required.

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 E-Commerce Antitrust Issues." Electronic submissions may be sent by e-mail to ecommerce@ftc.gov or may be filed on a 3-1/2 inch computer disk with a label indicating the name of the submitter and the name and version of the word processing program used.

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

(FTC File No P95 0102)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Claudia Bourne Farrell,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2181
Staff Contact:
William Cohen,
Deputy Director, Policy Planning
202-326-2110