Dearest Reader, Welcome to the first issue of our global competition law newsletter, “Antitrust Matters”. It covers antitrust developments from around the world!
Antitrust matters indeed. Legally, financially, economically, politically, intellectually. Antitrust emerged as a policy in the late 1800s, when the American post reconstruction economy underwent industrialization. Railway corporations had connected the most remote places of the American West with the rest of the world, and the emergence of oil companies and other industrial concerns as powerful economic forces had become such that political concerns arose about their power to increase their rates at will and otherwise adversely influence the marketplace.
Since Congress enacted the Sherman Act in 1890, and complemented it later with enactment of the Clayton and Federal Trade Commission Acts, debate has never ended. What is the true purpose of the competition rules? What are their objectives? And how are these best attained? Rarely has there been only one answer to any given question. Whether in merger control, antitrust or the prosecution of alleged abuses, governmental policies have shifted over a century from one extreme to the other. At all times, the public debate has been passionate. Cathedrals of thought were built to study industries, market structures, and the mechanics of competition. From Industrial Organization Economics to the Chicago School of Antitrust, a broad range of tools have been developed to deal with any particular issue raised. At one point in time, the sparks flew across the oceans. In Europe, competition law and policy developed forcefully in the wake of World War II. Competition law enforcement has now reached a level of sophistication that is close to its American counterpart. In Asia and Africa, competition policy has been emerging as well, with an ever-growing focus on legislation, enforcement and policy debate.
Antitrust matters for companies, because non-compliance can be costly. Antitrust matters for consumers, because it is about consumers’ welfare. Thus, antitrust matters for everyone, and that’s why it matters for you! If policy makers get antitrust policy wrong, we can all be much worse off. That is why antitrust is such a passionately debated topic, and why it is so passionately loved by those involved in it, drawing some of the greatest talents from the legal and economic talent pool. Antitrust is vocational in nature.
Markets are today global, hence antitrust matters globally. The fundamentals are roughly the same everywhere, but the parameters differ: policy priorities evolve locally in response to particular concerns, and the legal and institutional setup can make quite a difference from one jurisdiction to the next. DLA Piper being a global law firm, we want to share some of those global developments with you, periodically and regularly. We are following antitrust developments with many smart thinkers and curious eyes around the world. Whenever we think that an antitrust development matters to you particularly, we report it herein. As news get reported faster by others, we put the emphasis on analysis, reflection, and thought leadership. That is how we want to make the most out of your reading time, which we presume to be a limited and valuable resource. We hope you will like Antitrust Matters.
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