Competition law enforcement spans the globe with active enforcement on every major continent. Over 100 countries have competition laws and competition law enforcement agencies. With an ever-growing number of companies operating in or selling into multiple countries, the competition laws of multiple jurisdictions concern a large and expanding group of potential subjects – companies routinely face merger reviews in several countries and their business practices and conduct can be subject to simultaneous civil or criminal investigations. As a result, it has become increasingly important for lawyers and government enforcers to become familiar with the competition laws and enforcement practices of countries throughout the world.
The American Bar Association’s Section of Antitrust Law (the Section) has been the pre-eminent provider of educational programmes and publications for competition practitioners for many years. While historically the Section had concentrated on the United States, over two decades ago, in response to the increasing globalisation of business and the growth of competition law enforcement throughout the world, it expanded its focus and reach to the global set of competition laws and enforcement activities.
The following are some of the Antitrust Law Section’s many programmes, publications and activities relating to international competition law.
The Section’s commitment to providing education and increasing knowledge about international competition laws is reflected in its programming. Here are some upcoming highlights from the Section’s programmes between August 2015 and July 2016.
Merger Practice Workshop, Washington, DC (1 October 2015)
Using a hypothetical centred on a high-tech merger with multi-jurisdictional dimensions, this programme will explore the merger review process through demonstrations and presentations.
Antitrust and Intellectual Property Conference, Stanford Law School (8 October 2015)
The interaction of intellectual property laws with competition law has sparked debate, regulation and contentious litigation around the world. This programme will cast a spotlight on some of the most difficult and high-stakes disputes.
Fall Forum: Interactions of the Courts and Agencies, Washington, DC (12 November 2015)
The senior enforcement officials of the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission and many judges will discuss recent developments, enforcement priorities, judicial practice and policy initiatives, and how the courts influence agency action.
International Cartel Workshop, Tokyo (3–5 February 2016)
Experience all facets of an international cartel investigation from the perspectives of the enforcers, the defence and the civil plaintiffs’ attorneys. From amnesty applications through corporate and individual pleas and defences, as well as civil claims, this unique programme presents the key issues through role playing by the real players.
Spring Meeting, Washington, DC (6–8 April 2016)
The Section’s annual Spring Meeting is the premier competition law conference in the world. Last year, over 3,000 competition law attorneys, advisers and government enforcers attended the conference, including more than 700 (about 23 per cent) from over 60 countries outside the US. The conference consists of approximately 50 CLE programmes and numerous networking events. This meeting is a ‘must attend’ for competition law attorneys and government enforcers.
The Antitrust Law Section is well known for its signature publications, which are unparalled both in quality and quantity. It publishes three regular periodicals:
• Antitrust Magazine, a magazine devoted to featuring forward-looking articles of interest to practitioners that is published three times a year, with a subscriber base in excess of 9,000;
• The Antitrust Source, a bimonthly online magazine featuring in-depth commentary on the hottest topics in antitrust and consumer protection law, which is available to all members; and
• Antitrust Law Journal, the premier law journal in the United States and the most frequently cited publication of its kind by US courts in antitrust litigation over the course of the past decade.
The Section’s Antitrust Law Development, now in its seventh edition, is the gold standard for antitrust reference worldwide. The Section’s publications catalogue also includes more than 80 in-depth treatises, handbooks, practice guides and manuals (see www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/antitrust_law/AntitrustBooksCat2015-final-LoRes.pdf). This year, our anticipated new releases include the following handbooks: Private Equity Antitrust; Antitrust Aspects of Standard Setting; State Antitrust & Enforcement; Antitrust Healthcare; Consumer Privacy and Data Security; and Antitrust Civil Jury Instructions.
Task forces and committees
Our Section’s committees and task forces play a critical role in keeping our members informed on the latest developments in competition law through telephonic committee programmes, teleseminars, newsletters, blogs and discussion groups, and also help formulate comments that the Section submits to competition regimes around the world regarding proposed enforcement initiatives, statutes, guidelines and regulations.
Global private litigation committee
This committee addresses the complex procedural questions posed by private competition enforcement and covers all relevant jurisdictions. Its mission could not be more relevant, as more jurisdictions adopt mechanisms for private civil enforcement of competition laws.
Privacy and information security committee
In today’s world of rapid technological development and increasing globalisation, this committee plays a crucial role in helping Section members with key privacy and data security issues, including at international levels.
International task force
Since its inception in 2008, the International Task Force has contributed over 100 sets of comments, the vast majority of which were submitted to competition authorities and legislative bodies in jurisdictions outside the United States, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, European Union, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Paraguay and the United Kingdom.
Foreign investment, trade policy and sectorial review task force report
In 2015, this task force created a comprehensive report examining the current web of foreign investment control, trade regulation, and sectorial regimes that frequently subject international M&A transactions to reviews ancillary to traditional competition merger control reviews.
The Antitrust Law Section’s leadership ranks reflect the global community that we serve. About 40 international members participate in our Section leadership as committee chairs, vice chairs, publication editors and task-force members. These leaders hail from Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The best path to Section leadership is through involvement in a committee, publication or task force. Membership in the Section’s committees is open to all members, and opportunities to write are plentiful. I hope you will consider becoming an active member of the Section of Antitrust Law by joining a committee or writing a piece for our publications. You will learn a great deal, have wonderful networking opportunities and enjoy your experience. Your work will clearly benefit from joining the premier organisation of competition professionals in the world.