Coronavirus

Regulators To Soften Antitrust Restrictions For JVs

antitrust law

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division said they will speed up reviews for joint ventures aimed at stopping the coronavirus spread, according to a report by CNBC.

Reviews generally take months to complete, but the organizations released a joint statement saying they will try to get a review done in a week, following receipt of all the pertinent information needed to complete the review.

“…  Accordingly, the Agencies will aim to respond expeditiously to all COVID-19-related requests, and to resolve those addressing public health and safety within seven (7) calendar days of receiving all necessary information,” the two agencies said in a joint statement. “Since joint ventures may be necessary for businesses to bring goods to communities in need, to expand existing capacity, or to develop new products or services, the Agencies will also work to expeditiously process filings under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act (as amended by the Standards Development Organization Advancement Act).”

The agencies said they’d consider firms to be moving forward pro-competitively when working with other firms on research or other COVID-19 related endeavors.

There would also be an allowance for private lobbying to use federal emergency authority, but it would have to be implemented in the arena of passing and enforcing laws. 

The agencies added that they were going to enforce rules regarding price gouging or the cutting of wages. Amazon, for its part, has said that it cut off many businesses trying to profit from the coronavirus crisis, and has removed thousands who are trying to sell items for high prices.

Both the FTC and the DOJ Antitrust Division said they’ll go after monopolists who “use their market power to engage in exclusionary conduct.”

“In sum, the Agencies, in addition to the rest of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, will continue working closely with the public, the business community, and other federal agencies to responsibly enforce the antitrust laws to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all Americans,” the release said.

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