Washington, DC - Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim signed a new competition enforcement framework between the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission, and competition agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
The Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition Authorities (Framework) aims to strengthen cooperation between the signatories, and provides the basis for a series of bilateral agreements among them focused on investigative assistance, including sharing confidential information and cross-border evidence gathering.
Building on the antitrust agencies’ existing cooperation arrangements, the Framework includes a memorandum of understanding designed to reinforce and improve existing case coordination and collaboration tools among the agencies, and a model agreement. The model agreement is expected to serve as a template for subsequent agreements among signatories that would permit enhanced cooperation in both criminal and civil non-HSR matters. The framework recognizes that signatories will use best efforts to negotiate and implement bilateral agreements with one another based on the model agreement.
“The Framework sets a new standard for enforcement cooperation, strengthening our tools for international assistance and evidence gathering in the increasingly digital and global economy,” said Assistant Attorney General Delrahim. “We hope that it will provide a model for agencies around the world interested in enhancing international cooperation. DOJ looks forward to continuing this important work through the negotiation of the bilateral agreements contemplated in the Framework.”
Joining Assistant Attorney General Delrahim in signing the Framework were Chairman Joe Simons of the Federal Trade Commission, Chairman Rod Sims of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell of Competition Bureau Canada, Chair Anna Rawlings of the New Zealand Commerce Commission, and Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli of the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the agreement was signed separately in each jurisdiction in near-simultaneous fashion, allowing the agencies to come together virtually to reaffirm the importance of international cooperation even in these extraordinary times.
The U.S. antitrust agencies are authorized to enter into such agreements under the International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994 (IAEAA), and the U.S. agencies already have an IAEAA agreement with Australia from 1999.