Washington, DC - The Department of Justice Antitrust Division participated in the International Competition Network’s (ICN) 20th annual conference, virtually hosted by the Hungarian Competition Authority, on Oct. 13-15. Delegates from the ICN’s member jurisdictions, included agency leadership and staff, competition experts from international organizations and the legal, business, academic and consumer communities. Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Antitrust Division led the Department of Justice’s delegation.
“As we mark this significant milestone in the ICN’s history, it is an opportunity to reflect on our shared commitment to economic justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Powers. “As the global competition landscape expands and changes, the ICN will continue to foster important collaboration and convergence amongst its members.”
The conference showcased the achievements of the ICN’s Advocacy, Agency Effectiveness, Cartel, Merger, and Unilateral Conduct working groups and examined a range of competition enforcement and policy issues, including the continuing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference also featured the preliminary results of the Federal Trade Commission-led “Third Decade” project, which seeks to assess the tools, topics, and operations of the ICN and provide a roadmap for its work during its third decade.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Powers spoke on a panel discussing issues and challenges in international cooperation in the fight against cross-border cartels. The Cartel Working Group breakout sessions focused on anti-cartel enforcement in the COVID-19 and digital eras. These sessions complemented the Cartel Working Group’s work product this year, which included a report summarizing trends and developments in anti-cartel enforcement during ICN’s second decade.
The Merger Working Group’s panel discussed merger control in the ICN’s third decade. The Merger Working Group’s breakout sessions explored topics stemming from key work product this year, including a report on joint ventures and updates to the ICN merger notification and procedures template.
The Advocacy Working Group’s panel focused on the importance of compliance programs, specifically for small and medium-size companies. Advocacy Working Group breakout sessions examined the ICN Advocacy Toolkit and the effectiveness of compliance from the business and compliance advisor perspectives. These sessions complemented the Advocacy Working Group’s work product this year, including a report on competition compliance.
The Agency Effectiveness Working Group’s panel focused on opportunities and challenges competition agencies may face in the post-COVID-19 era in areas such case prioritization, investigations, and digitalization and innovation efforts. Deputy Executive Officer Scott Minning participated in a breakout session to discuss the findings of the Agency Effectiveness Working Group’s report on digitalization, innovation and agency effectiveness. A second breakout session focused on a how competition agencies set enforcement priorities.
The Unilateral Conduct Working Group’s panel explored challenges competition agencies face when analyzing theories of harm and designing remedies in unilateral conduct cases in digital markets. The Working Group also discussed its working paper on dominance in digital markets.
Two other panels explored emerging topics of great interest and importance to members: effective international enforcement cooperation and the intersection of competition, consumer, and data privacy rules.
The ICN was created in October 2001 to increase understanding of competition policy and promote convergence toward sound antitrust enforcement around the world. It was founded by 15 agencies, including the Antitrust Division, and has grown to 140 agencies from 130 jurisdictions, supported by a wide network of non-governmental advisors from around the world.