Since his confirmation, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim has focused heavily on engaging the Antitrust Division’s competition enforcer colleagues around the world. In the past six months, AAG Delrahim has engaged with officials from more than a dozen jurisdictions in both formal and informal settings. This commitment demonstrates this Administration’s strong interest in deepening the ties between the Antitrust Division and its foreign enforcer colleagues.
AAG Delrahim’s first official foreign engagement was hosted by the Division at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C., in November. Officials from Mexico’s Federal Competition Commission and Canada’s Competition Bureau met with AAG Delrahim, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for International Roger Alford, International Section Chief Lynda Marshall, other Division officials and staff, and U.S. Federal Trade Commission colleagues for the four agencies’ annual trilateral meeting. Discussions at the meeting focused on the respective agencies’ developments and priorities, antitrust in the digital economy, and future opportunities for cooperation and convergence on sound antitrust principles.
In December, the Division participated in the semiannual meeting of the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. DAAG Alford represented the United States in discussions on the extraterritorial reach of remedies in antitrust cases, the role of safe harbors and presumptions in antitrust law, and emerging issues related to common ownership by institutional investors.
The first quarter of 2018 was a particularly busy period for the Division’s international program. In January, DAAG Alford traveled to Seoul, South Korea to meet with officials of the Korea Fair Trade Commission and to speak on antitrust enforcement and remedies in a global economy.
In early February, AAG Delrahim, along with DAAG Alford, led the Division’s delegation at meetings with high-level officials from the three Chinese antimonopoly agencies. The meetings took place in Beijing and provided an opportunity for the Division and its U.S. FTC colleagues to discuss topics such as the treatment of intellectual property and the importance of sound and effective enforcement procedures with their Chinese counterparts.
Later in February, AAG Delrahim and DAAG Alford traveled to Paris, Brussels, Bonn, and London for a series of meetings, speaking engagements, and workshops with high-level officials from the European Commission, the German Bundeskartellamt, and other European competition agencies. During that trip, AAG Delrahim delivered a speech in Brussels about the important relationship between the Division and the European Commission, and DAAG Alford spoke in London about the role of antitrust in promoting innovation.
In March, a Division delegation led by DAAG Alford participated in the annual conference of the International Competition Network, held in New Delhi, India. At the conference, the organization adopted sound guiding principles for procedural fairness in competition agency enforcement—evidence that the Division’s work is yielding real results. In addition, DAAG Alford spoke on a panel about online markets and vertical restraints. The panel was part of the Unilateral Conduct Working Group’s ongoing work on vertical restraints. The Working Group, co-chaired by the Division, presented an interim report examining a series of hypothetical vertical restraints and their effects on competition and potential resulting efficiencies.
In addition to these engagements by Division leadership, the Division’s investigative teams continue to cooperate with their international counterparts on both the civil and criminal sides of the Division. Since April 2017, the Division has engaged with 16 international counterparts on 18 different merger and civil nonmerger matters. On the criminal side, the Division continues to engage with its counterparts in working to detect and punish international cartels.
International engagement will continue to be a top priority of AAG Delrahim, and the Division is at work planning upcoming bilateral meetings and additional initiatives for promoting sound enforcement policy and procedures around the world.