Six competition agencies from five countries on Wednesday signed a new framework that aims to enhance not only their cooperation and coordination in global antitrust investigations, but their information-sharing efforts as well.
Signatories of the Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition Authorities include the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, as well as competition agencies in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
“The framework sets a new standard for enforcement cooperation, strengthening our tools for international assistance and evidence gathering in the increasingly digital and global economy,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim in a press release. “We hope that it will provide a model for agencies around the world interested in enhancing international cooperation.”
FTC Chairman Joseph Simons echoed that sentiment. The framework “represents a new benchmark in cross-border antitrust cooperation,” he stated. “It seeks to pave the way for better access to information and investigative assistance from the FTC’s counterparts, while ensuring strong confidentiality safeguards.”
“As the U.K. prepares to leave the EU, and the CMA embraces its expanded role, it is even more important for us to forge strong relationships across the world, and work with partners both closer to home and further afield,” stated Andrea Coscelli, chief executive officer of the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority. “This new framework will enhance the CMA’s existing relations with these trusted partners and support effective cooperation, including sharing information and cross-border intelligence gathering, in doing so assisting the U.K.’s competition investigations.”
The Canadian government said the framework complements its Competition Bureau’s existing cooperation instruments in place with the following 16 jurisdictions: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the European Union, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States.
“By investing in its relationships with competition agencies and other law enforcement partners, the Bureau can strengthen its ability to protect Canada’s competitive marketplace, address cross-border anti-competitive activity, and promote convergence on competition policies internationally,” the Canadian government stated.
“This memorandum of understanding confirms the increasingly cross-border nature of antitrust enforcement in 2020, as well as the equally frequent need for enforcers to obtain evidence in foreign jurisdictions,” says Kobre & Kim lawyer Benjamin Sirota. “It also demonstrates that, despite their substantive differences, the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission will continue to act in tandem on broad matters of process.”