Brazil, Germany, Japan, others weighed in on DOJ proposed antitrust accord

5 September 2018 8:58pm

27 August 2018. By Joshua Sisco,  Leah Nylen and Rodrigo Russo.

The US Department of Justice consulted with competition authorities in Australia, Brazil, Germany and Japan, among others, in drafting its proposed international agreement on antitrust procedures.

Other jurisdictions involved include the European Commission, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the UK, according to a memo by a top official of Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense, or CADE, and inquiries by MLex.

The DOJ, one of the United States' two competition authorities, in June proposed the creation of a Multilateral Framework on Procedures in Competition Law Investigation and Enforcement, or MFP. The proposed accord would establish fundamental procedural norms for competition investigations and would include a compliance mechanism to ensure countries that sign on abide by their promises.

The memo, by CADE President Alexandre Barreto de Souza to Brazil’s Ministry of Justice, said the MFP will be discussed at a meeting on the sidelines of a conference in New York next week.

CADE has been involved in the drafting process “since the initial moment of drafting the MFP” in partnership with other competition authorities, according to the memo.

Competition authorities in Germany and Singapore confirmed to MLex they have also been involved. Roger Alford, the DOJ’s deputy assistant attorney general for international antitrust, said the EU’s main competition authority, the European Commission, has also been involved in discussions.

Speaking at a conference in Aspen this month, Alford mentioned the upcoming discussions in New York. Alford said the proposal was redrafted based on input from the initial group of agencies and has since been more widely circulated. The current version, known internally as the Paris draft, followed discussions in Paris in June on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The MFP was first proposed by Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim in June as a way of guaranteeing fair procedures and common standards in investigations. The MFP is intended to try to bridge differences in competition-law systems around the globe and will cover “procedural commitments that reflect fundamental due process,” Delrahim said at the time.

Some of the focus in the draft has been on common language to describe different legal frameworks, such as the administrative system used by the European Commission, and the judicial system used by the US, it is understood. EU enforcement decisions are issued by the commission, while the DOJ’s enforcement actions in the US must be approved by an independent court.

In June, the International Chamber of Commerce and its American national committee, the US Council for International Business, threw their support behind the MFP, saying they hoped the initiative would lead to fairer and more efficient antitrust procedures.

Joh Sung-Wook Interview