Thursday, June 18, 2015
Bill Baer - DOJ has a new speech on Politicization of Competition Policy –Myth or Reality?
His speech was excellent. One short excerpt provides guiding principles for jurisdictions around the world:
Competition policy and competition enforcement succeed where they are based on an unwavering commitment to the competitive process and to protecting consumer welfare. Enforcement decisions need to be fact-based, analytically sound, and legally grounded. When competition enforcement stays tethered to those principles, decisions have a certain predictability and credibility. If competition enforcers stretch to advance noncompetition goals, we risk losing our hard-earned legitimacy. We must not wield our substantial enforcement powers to protect or advance certain competitors or industries. We must call it like we see it, without undue influence from any quarter. Our focus needs to be on ensuring that consumers benefit from a vibrant competitive process. Of course, this commitment to sound antitrust enforcement must be paired with transparency and due process
I think it is telling that he gave this speech in Europe, where there have been instances of politicization. The focus on politics in competition policy has been on East Asia but it is in fact a global problem.