In this CPI issue, we address a pressing antitrust question of political nature – how should nations address political concerns, if at all, through antitrust policy. We first look at the position in the U.S. & EU and then turn to look at Asia. In doing so, our contributing authors ask certain pertinent questions, such as what is the legal framework governing the current U.K. merger control regime insofar as public interest considerations are concerned, including its important interface with EU law? What is the extent to which public interest considerations can be invoked under foreign investment control rules in the United Kingdom and a number of other jurisdictions? Whether there is, or should be, a role for national interest considerations in the review of corporate acquisitions by foreign purchasers? How does the how the current EU merger control framework accommodate both competition and non-competition considerations and reconcile them with EU law principles of freedom of establishment and free movement of capital? How can the EU system learn from the U.S. in addressing non-competition related public interests on investment within a merger control timetable.
In context of the Asian jurisdictions, the contributing authors ask several pertinent questions such as if the Chinese authorities appear to have wielded the law against more foreign multinationals than local companies (in back drop of the Microsoft, Diamler, and Audi rulings). Similar concerns have also been raised regarding the Indonesian competition authority, which had in the mid-2000s issued a string of infringement decisions against the likes of Chevron, Carrefour, Mitsubishi, Pfizer, and Temasek, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund. How does KFTC fare in this regard? Is it possible to completely steer clear of political motivations in these jurisdictions?
In the first paper in our Of Special Interest section also concerns protectionism as David S. Evans explains how the EU’s proposed payments legislation can harm consumers. Finally, Neale Mahoney, André Veiga, & Glen Weyl close with interesting food for thought involving cream-skimming: Can there be too much competition in selection markets? In the same section, we also look recent court rulings in Nexium relating to reverse-payment settlements; internet distributions systems, and recent activity using screens in financial and other markets.
As always, thank you to our great panel of authors.