Thy Lamp Unto the World: International Convergence After the 2010 Guidelines

Oct 28, 2010

Those of us who practice competition law globally and who engage in international technical assistance are regularly struck by the wide variation in culture and expertise among the world’s competition agencies, now numbering more than 100. Uniformity is decades away, if that. But serious efforts towards achieving greater uniformity are a daily event, as (i) the more prominent and sophisticated agencies routinely eyeball and borrow from one another, replacing their own practices with better practices observed elsewhere, and (ii) the newer and emerging agencies carefully read the outputs of the leading agencies with a view towards possible emulation. Even if Americans don’t always read the statements from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) carefully, foreigners do; and even if foreigners don’t always elect to follow U.S. practice, they give it serious consideration. The U.S. government’s description of its practice is highly influential. One need only examine the rack of submissions by national delegations at meetings of the Competition Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development-the papers from the United States and the European Commission are always the first to run out. Given the range of objectives behind government policy statements, it’s probably too much to ask that the statements be written with international implications as the principal concern. It’s not too much to ask that the statement

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