Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today met with 35 international antitrust enforcement agencies and dozens of private antitrust practitioners in Washington, D.C., to emphasize the need for procedural fairness and transparency for parties in antitrust investigations.
At the International Competition Network (ICN) roundtable on investigative process, Baer applauded the progress that already has been made in the international competition community toward shared values of due process and transparency in antitrust investigations and stressed the importance of continuing that effort.
Baer said that process and transparency matter. They help ensure that enforcers’ views are exposed to informed reaction and that parties understand the processes used to reach a particular outcome. Baer also said that when fair and transparent decision-making processes are in place, the legitimacy of the agency’s outcome is enhanced.
Baer encouraged newer antitrust enforcement agencies to adopt practices that would provide greater transparency and procedural fairness to parties in antitrust investigations. Some of the practices recommended include providing parties under investigation with information about the timing of antitrust agency’s decision-making, allowing parties to submit white papers and meet with investigating staff and decision-makers to present their views, and providing parties in investigations with regularly updated information about the agency’s concerns.
The ICN roundtable was co-hosted by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez also presented remarks.