Change and Continuity in International Antitrust Under an Obama Administration

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Daniel Sokol, Jan 20, 2009

A change in the antitrust leadership in the United States as a result of the election of Barack Obama has potentially significant challenging effects for antitrust enforcement and priorities around the world. Nevertheless, some of the differences between Democratic and Republic administrations, at least on international issues, may be exaggerated. To better understand the potential differences in the next administration, this essay will first provide a background of the precarious state of international antitrust that existed in 2000 for the incoming Bush antitrust team at the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) as well as review the current state of international antitrust issues that the Obama team will inherit. Then, the essay will explore potential challenges for the Obama antitrust team. Finally, the essay will conclude with an analysis of the areas where continuity and change in antitrust seem most likely under an Obama administration.