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Department of Justice
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Sign Antitrust Memorandum of Understanding with Korea Fair Trade Commission

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission signed an antitrust memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) today to promote increased cooperation and communication among the competition agencies in both countries.  The MOU was signed in Washington, D.C. by Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Chairwoman Edith Ramirez of the FTC and Chairman Jeong Jae-chan of the KFTC, and went into effect upon signature.

“This memorandum of understanding recognizes the day-to-day working relationship we already enjoy with the KFTC and expresses our interest in continuing and strengthening that relationship in the years to come,” said Assistant Attorney General Baer.  “Enforcement cooperation – including candid and constructive dialogue – is critical to maintaining competitive markets in the United States, Korea and around the world."

“This MOU marks an important point in our relationship with the KFTC, providing an opportunity to further strengthen our agencies’ interactions and solidify our cooperative efforts throughout Asia,” said Chairwoman Ramirez.  “It will help us to work even more closely to promote convergence around sound competition policy and procedures.”

Highlights of the new agreement include the following:

  • mutual acknowledgment of the importance of antitrust cooperation, including an intention to coordinate when pursuing enforcement activities on matters under common review;

  • articulating the framework for communications between the U.S. antitrust agencies and the KFTC; and

  • committing to maintain the confidentiality of any information provided by the other party and honoring prohibitions on sharing information when not permitted by law.

The U.S. antitrust agencies and the KFTC have developed an increasingly close working relationship since Korea adopted its competition law in 1981, which includes exchanging views on policy and, as appropriate, cooperating on investigations.  Today’s MOU is intended to further promote these relations.

The MOU with the KFTC is the U.S. antitrust agencies’ third antitrust cooperation arrangement in East Asia, following those reached with Japan in 1999 and the Chinese competition agencies in 2011.

Updated February 4, 2016