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World: Japan, Europe looking to share antitrust evidence

 |  March 14, 2016

Japan and the European Union are working toward an agreement to share evidence on anti-competitive activities as globalized businesses make it increasingly difficult for any one authority to bust international cartels.

The Japan Fair Trade Commission and the European Commission will start negotiations at a Tuesday meeting here, with the goal of signing and enacting an accord by the end of 2017. Japan already has a similar agreement with Australia, and the EU with Switzerland.

The agreement would give the JFTC access to evidence collected in the 28 EU member countries. It would help facilitate the prosecution of antitrust activities by Japanese companies in Europe and vice versa.

The two authorities would exchange such documentation as secret pricing and market allocation pacts. They could share e-mails between companies’ sales representatives or written documents detailing agreements, for example, as well as depositions given to each body. Antitrust authorities ordinarily do not exchange such information with their peers because it deals with many corporate secrets.

They would first seek consent from companies that volunteered evidence before sharing it, to avoid discouraging businesses from reporting any violations.

Each authority would initially orally communicate the details of the evidence requested by the other party. If the latter decides they need more information, it could then request a physical copy of the document. At this point, most such exchanges are expected to take place orally.

Full content: Nikkei

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