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US: ICN approves multilateral framework on enforcement

 |  April 7, 2019

The International Competition Network, backed by the US, introduced a new set of principles aims to make the process by which antitrust laws are enforced more transparent, predictable, and consistent across international jurisdictions.

The International Competition Network’s new protocols, announced Friday, April 5, are aimed at streamlining the enforcement process while also preventing countries from using local antitrust laws to favor domestic companies over competitors from other jurisdictions, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Individual nations will have to opt in to be bound by the framework, and its effectiveness could be limited by how Chinese authorities respond, analysts said.

“It basically means you can’t reverse-engineer an outcome to favor privileged competitors,” said University of Florida antitrust-law professor Daniel Sokol. “This could put pressure on a number of countries.”

The US Justice Department had been pushing for the rules to be adopted reported the Journal. The number of countries seeking to exercise antitrust authority has grown substantially in recent years; as a result, multinational mergers need the approval not only of the US and European Union, but of a range of smaller countries as well.

The ICN protocol was approved by agencies from a core group of countries, including the US, Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico, and South Korea.

China isn’t a member of the ICN, though it would still have the option to agree to the rules if other countries could persuade it to do so. US officials have discussed the issue with their Chinese counterparts, according to a person familiar with those talks.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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