In an important decision interpreting the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (FTAIA), Judge Diane Wood, writing for the Seventh Circuit en banc, clarified the reach of U.S. antitrust laws over foreign conduct. The ruling breathed new life into a previously dismissed purchaser class action lawsuit against mostly foreign potash producers. Minn-Chem v. Agrium, No. 10-1712, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13131 (7th Cir. Jun. 27, 2012).
In 2008, U.S. purchasers of potash, a mineral used in agricultural fertilizers, sued seven producers, all but one of whom are headquartered outside the United States. The complaint alleged that the defendants had engaged in a global cartel that included manipulating output and capacity and engaging in joint ventures that were designed to police the cartel, with the effect of increasing prices for potash up to 600%. All of the relevant activity occurred outside the United States.
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