Thursday, June 29, 2017

CONYERS Statement for the Hearing on “Recent Trends in International Antitrust Enforcement” Before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks during the Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law Subcommittee hearing on “Recent Trends in International Antitrust Enforcement.”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Today’s hearing presents an important opportunity to consider international antitrust enforcement. 

Given the increasingly interconnected economic relationships among nations, American firms depend on the fair enforcement of antitrust and competition laws by other countries as a critical factor with respect to their ability to do business abroad.

Yet some American firms believe that certain countries do not consistently apply their competition laws in a sound, non-discriminatory manner.

They allege a lack of due process and transparency when these firms have become the target of antitrust investigations by competition authorities in those countries.

Accordingly, we should keep the following points in mind as we discuss foreign antitrust enforcement practices.

My greatest concern is whether and to what degree these problematic foreign antitrust enforcement practices impact American jobs.

To the extent that foreign antitrust enforcement actions unfairly disadvantage American firms, and to the extent this results in American companies going out of business and American workers losing their jobs, I am deeply concerned.
The witnesses should provide us guidance on just how real and extensive a problem this is.

That being said, however, there are and should be limits to what we can insist on from other countries.

When it comes to antitrust and competition policy, divergences in outlook and philosophy are not always rooted in a desire to protect national champions or to discriminate against American firms.

Various countries may be at different stages of development, with laws shaped by cultures and historical circumstances that differ from ours.

Where complaints about other countries’ laws simply reflect such differences -- rather than concerns about discrimination, due process or transparency -- we should be careful about overstating our criticism and reaction.

Finally, we must be careful not to provoke retaliation against American businesses with any effort to penalize or pressure other countries to change their enforcement practices.

Many helpful recommendations have been made regarding how to address the concerns of American businesses about foreign antitrust enforcement practices.

The best ones emphasize dialogue, multilateral standards and agreements on best practices, and the promotion of cooperation among international antitrust enforcement agencies.

 An excessively punitive approach, however, may ultimately prove counterproductive and be harmful to American interests in the long run.

I thank the witnesses and look forward to their discussion.

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