U.S. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer Discusses Trends Towards Convergence In International Anti-Trust Enforcement Cooperation

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Friday, October 9, 2015
Bruce Zagaris
On September 29, 2015, speaking at the Ninth Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium U.S. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer discussed convergence in anti-trust enforcement cooperation since 1995.  In 1995, only two dozen or so jurisdictions had antitrust laws.  Only a handful included the kind of pre-merger notification rules that give enforcers the opportunity to stop mergers before assets are scrambled.  Several jurisdictions prohibited price-fixing, but few had developed an effective cartel enforcement program. The differences in approach among jurisdictions with competition laws were quite significant, both on substantive antitrust principles and process.  It was uncertain how many other jurisdictions would embrace competition enforcement.  The prevailing assumption at the time was that enforcers were likely to make progress on procedural convergence way before they approached consensus on substantive issues.  However today, approximately 130 jurisdictions have antitrust laws, with nearly 80 requiring some form of pre-merger notification.  Cartel enforcement is no longer limited to a few jurisdictions.  Enforcers have enjoyed success converging toward common approaches on many substantive antitrust issues.