Since I began practicing antitrust law a very long time ago I have observed two significant developments. First, antitrust law is called competition law in other places around the world and today there is increasingly robust global competition law enforcement. The second development: economists now have more and larger parties at the ABA Antitrust Spring meeting.
Given the first development, Concurrences Journal, in partnership with the New York University School of Law, is holding its inaugural conference “Antitrust in Emerging and Developing Countries” on Friday, October 24, 2014. This one-day conference (8:30am to 6:30pm) features speakers from China, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, among other jurisdictions. Keynote speakers include:
- Eleanor M. Fox, Professor at NYU
- Santiago Levy Algazi, Vice President for Sectors and Knowledge at the IADB
- Dennis Davis, Judge of the High Court of Cape Town
- William E. Kovacic, Professor at GW University
- Frank Fine, Executive Director, China Institute of International Antitrust and Investment
- Blanca G. Rodriguez, DG Comp
- Randolph W. Tritell, FTC
There is a detailed program and complete list of speakers on the program website.
The conference should provide interesting insights into similarities and differences among enforcement agencies around the globe. One panel I am particularly interested in is: Dominance and Abuse: What’s the Problem; What are the Remedies? Hopefully the auto parts cases will be discussed. The U.S. and other jurisdictions are bringing many cases against the auto parts manufacturers. These have been classic per se horizontal price-fixing/bid rigging cartel cases. But, India and China have just brought large auto parts cases as well. These appear to be quite different. There was no charge of horizontal collusion. Instead the cases involve “abuse of dominance” in the way auto parts manufacturers control distribution and pricing of parts for their product. The very headline “India Charges 14 Auto Makers with Abuse of Dominance” is a little puzzling to U.S. trained competition lawyers. The fact that there are 14 automakers would seem to doom any “dominance” charges. But, the companies were fined a whopping $420 million collectively. “The car companies charged arbitrary and high prices for their spare parts” through their monopolistic control, the Competition Commission of India said in a statement. The car companies were also found to be “distorting fair competition” by using their dominant position to protect their market for repair services. How were these decisions made? On what evidence? What were the economic theories regarding interbrand versus intrabrand? Were these distinction recognized? The “Antitrust in Emerging and Developing Countries” conference sounds like a good place ask these and other questions.