Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
It is with great pleasure that I sign this Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Department of Justice alongside my good friend, Prosecutor General Yoon. Enhancing the ties between our agencies has been an important priority for me during my tenure as Assistant Attorney General of the Antitrust Division. While only a few years ago we knew comparatively little about one another, our relationship has quickly blossomed into a strong and enduring friendship. I am extremely pleased that we have succeeded in developing important and lasting ties between our agencies, as underscored by our signing of this Memorandum of Understanding today.
This Memorandum of Understanding is a shared recognition of the close ties between our agencies and our commitment to assisting one another in criminal cartel matters. The agreement focuses on cooperation and coordination, and our agencies’ commitment to share information, when appropriate, and to give careful consideration to one another’s interests when conducting enforcement activities. It acknowledges the value of keeping one another informed of important policy developments, and it encourages our agencies to create technical assistance and other joint training programs that can help to facilitate closer working relationships.
In other words, this Memorandum of Understanding serves to memorialize and formalize what we have been implementing over the past few years. With that in mind, I’d like to acknowledge a few of our shared collaborations and accomplishments that are very much in the spirit of this Memorandum of Understanding.
First, we are working successfully on shared training initiatives. We have had one such program already, and I understand that there already have been some initial conversations about additional training programs. I hope that we can hold these programs in person soon, but in the interim, I have confidence in our resilience and creativity, and in our ability to conduct successful programs virtually. Relationships between enforcers play a critical role in international cartel enforcement, and the Antitrust Division is eager to work together on similar training programs in the months and years to come.
Second, we are cooperating and coordinating effectively on investigations. Let me take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude for your guidance and assistance on our matters. I look forward to continuing our work together on investigations.
Third, in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding, we are successfully exchanging information about policy initiatives. During the past three years, both of our agencies have benefitted from numerous study visits focusing on leniency policies and criminal trial procedures. My colleagues here in Washington greatly enjoyed sharing information about our leniency policies, and we hope the information has been useful as Korea seeks to introduce significant reforms to its leniency program next year. We look forward to the continuation of these study visits, and please know that our doors are open to you.
I understand that South Korea is likely to implement significant reforms to its competition laws in the coming year, and the Korean Prosecution Service will likely enjoy increased access to leniency applications and a broadened mandate to investigate and prosecute hard-core cartels. As the Korean Prosecution Service works to strengthen its enforcement powers and more effectively tackle the harms presented by illegal cartels, please count on the cooperation and support of the Department of Justice.
As I sign this Memorandum, I would like to acknowledge two members of my leadership team: Richard Powers, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal, and Rene Augustine, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for International and Policy. They join me in welcoming the opportunity presented by this Memorandum of Understanding to buttress our shared efforts to deter, detect, and prosecute hard core anticompetitive agreements that deny our consumers the benefits of a vigorous and competitive marketplace.
After the signing of the MOU documents, AAG Makan Delrahim provided short closing remarks:
In the coming years, we look forward to strengthening our partnership. I believe that we still have much to learn from one another, and this Memorandum of Understanding will help promote even greater dialogue to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our investigations.
Thank you for your friendship and for your partnership. We wish you and your colleagues much success as you take on a prominent role in fighting hard-core cartels. And of course, we wish you and your families good health and happiness in the months ahead.