|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012
TTY (866) 544-5309
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION TO HOLD
Provisions Can Present Competitive Concerns Under Certain Circumstances
WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that they will hold a joint public workshop on most-favored-nation clauses (MFNs) on Sept.10, 2012, to explore the use of MFN clauses and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy.
The most commonly used MFN provisions guarantee a customer that it will receive prices that are at least as favorable as those provided to other buyers of the same seller, for the same products or services. Although at times employed for benign purposes, MFNs can under certain circumstances present competitive concerns. This is because they may, especially when used by a dominant buyer of intermediate goods, raise other buyers’ costs or foreclose would-be competitors from accessing the market. Additionally, MFNs can facilitate collusion and stabilize coordinated pricing among sellers.
The workshop will offer an opportunity for businesses, academics, economists, lawyers and other interested parties to consider the use of MFNs and the legal and economic analyses of these provisions. The workshop will consist of a series of panels examining, among other topics, the legal treatment of MFNs, economic theories concerning MFNs and why they are used, and industry experiences with MFNs. Panelists for the workshop will include private attorneys, economists and industry representatives.
The Department of Justice and the FTC are interested in receiving comments on MFNs, and will accept written submissions from the public before the workshop and until Oct.10, 2012, 30 days after the event. Interested parties may submit public comments to ATR.LPS-MFNPublicWorkshop@usdoj.gov. Submitted comments will be made publicly available on the Department of Justice and FTC websites.
The all-day workshop is free and open to the public. Individuals are encouraged, but not required, to register in advance for the workshop by sending an email to ATR.LPS-MFNWorkshopRSVP@usdoj.gov. Please include “RSVP” in the subject line. Seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The workshop will take place at the FTC's satellite conference center at 601 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 10, 2012. It will include the following panels and presentations:
Economic Theories of MFNs: Harms and Efficiencies
Empirical Evidence on Effects of MFNs
Legal Treatment of MFNs
Lunchtime Speech: Nelson Jung, Director, Markets and Projects, U.K. Office of Fair Trading
MFNs: From Theory to the Real World
Moving Forward – How Has Thinking about MFNs Evolved and Where Might It Go?
Directions to the FTC’s Conference Center are available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/transportationguide.shtml.
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Samantha Konstandt at 202-326-3348. Requests should be made in advance. Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.
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