On May 5, the Federal Trade Commission announced that at the conclusion of the International Competition Network “ICN” conference in Cape Town, South Africa, significant accomplishments were made, including the completion of a Merger Guidelines Workbook and a new agenda that includes a working group on unilateral conduct.
The fifth annual conference, hosted by the South African competition authorities, which took place from May 3-5, 2006, was attended by nearly 300 representatives of almost 70 antitrust agencies and competition experts from international organizations and the legal, business, consumer, and academic communities. Commissioner William E. Kovacic of the FTC, as well as Thomas O. Barnett, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, addressed the conference.
ICN members adopted suggested best practices for antitrust enforcement in the telecommunications sector, underscored the importance of the ICN's anti-cartel work, and highlighted the significant progress member jurisdictions have made in implementing ICN recommendations and work product. The members also approved a new work agenda that includes a study of agency cooperation in anti-cartel enforcement, and workshops on merger investigation and analysis.
A significant accomplishment at the conference was the roll-out of a Merger Guidelines Workbook, designed to be a useful source for analyzing the competition effects of mergers. The Merger Working Group also announced that it will hold its first regional investigative techniques workshop in South America and presented a “take-home” version of the workshop for use by ICN members in their in-house training sessions.
In October 2001, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice joined with 13 antitrust agencies around the world to create the ICN, which now includes almost every antitrust agency in the world. The ICN has two main goals – to promote greater substantive and procedural convergence among antitrust authorities toward sound competition policies, and to support new antitrust agencies both in enforcing their laws and in building strong competition cultures in their countries. ICN documents are available at www.internationalcompetitionnetwork.org.