The U.S. antitrust agencies function as law enforcers and competition advocates. Giving the Federal Trade Commission market investigation and remedy powers like those of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority would transform the FTC into a market regulator. This kind of authority would be a poor fit for the FTC, given the very different history and context of the U.S. economy and laws – particularly the role of judicial process. The agency should focus on using its existing market study tools to remain abreast of market developments, to guide its own enforcement initiatives, and to provide input to sectoral regulators and legislative bodies on how to enhance competition.

By Christine S. Wilson & Pallavi Guniganti 1

 

Antitrust policy views the government as a referee, not as the manager or star player.” – Timothy Muris2

“We focus more on law enforcement than on prescriptive regulation.” – Edith Ramirez3

 

The idea that “antitrust is law enforcement, it’s not regulation,” 4 has become a bipartisan staple of remarks delivered by chairs of the Federal Trade Commission and Assistant Attorneys General for Antitrust at the Department of Justice. Then-chairwoman Edith Ramirez noted that a statement of Section 5 enforcement policy “prescribes no detailed code of regulations for the business community at large… no such prescriptive code would be feasible or desirable in our variegated and intensely dynamic economy, which

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