Today, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph J. Simons signed the Multilateral Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Framework for Competition Authorities among the FTC, the Department of Justice, and competition agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
The Framework aims to strengthen cooperation among the signatories and provides the basis for a contemplated series of agreements that would permit sharing confidential information and using compulsory process to aid each other’s antitrust investigations.
“I am delighted to join my counterparts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Department of Justice in launching this Framework, which represents a new benchmark in cross-border antitrust cooperation,” Chairman Simons said. “It seeks to pave the way for better access to information and investigative assistance from the FTC’s counterparts, while ensuring strong confidentiality safeguards.”
Building on the antitrust agencies’ cooperation arrangements, the Framework includes a memorandum of understanding, focused on reinforcing and improving existing coordination and collaboration tools among the agencies, and a model agreement. The model agreement is expected to serve as a template for subsequent agreements among signatories that would permit enhanced cooperation, such as sharing confidential information and cross-border evidence gathering. The U.S. antitrust agencies are authorized to enter into such agreements under the International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994.
Joining Chairman Simons in signing the framework were Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the U.S. Department of Justice, Chairman Rod Sims, of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell of Competition Bureau Canada, Chair Anna Rawlings of the New Zealand Commerce Commission, and Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli of the United Kingdom Competition and Markets Authority. The Framework was signed separately in each jurisdiction, allowing the agencies to come together virtually to reaffirm the importance of international cooperation even in these extraordinary times.