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With the aim of providing world-class policy analysis, scholarly research, and educational opportunities, the USC Center for Transnational Law and Business (CTLB) kicked off 2017 with its inaugural conference, drawing an engaged crowd from around the globe.
The “Antitrust Enforcement in a Global Context: Extraterritoriality and Due Process” conference was held on Jan. 13 and 14 at the USC campus, co-sponsored by USC Gould Dean Andrew Guzman and Professor Daniel Sokol, of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
The conference, co-sponsored by Dean Andrew Guzman (left), offered opportunities for deep discussion on timely anti-trust issues.
“Today we are focused on transparency, due process, and comity in global antitrust proceedings,” Guzman told the attendees who hailed from China, Japan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.
“These issues have been central to competition law investigations around the world in recent years, and will continue to arise going forward,” he continued. “The discussions we will have today among government officials, in-house counsel, law firm lawyers, and academics speak directly to important and consequential legal questions that are affecting global business activity and the world economy.”
Launched at the USC Gould School of Law last fall, the CTLB promotes policy analysis, research and education on global law and business.
CTLB Director Brian Peck greets one of the conference attendees.
“As the first major event for the center, this conference allows us to establish ourselves and to show that we are already fulfilling our mission, which is to provide a home for scholarly research to find practical solutions to make it easier for companies to conduct business overseas,” said Brian Peck, the director of the center, who served as deputy director of international affairs and business development for California Gov. Jerry Brown and senior director at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
A panel moderated by Michael Lawrence, senior competition counsel at Google, asked, “Is Better Due Process Overdue?” The answer was a resounding yes from Miguel Rato, a partner in Shearman & Sterling LLP’s Brussels office focused on EU competition law; Hideo Nakajima, secretary general of the Japan Fair Trade Commission; Alvaro Ramos, senior legal counsel and head of global antitrust at Qualcomm in San Diego; and Andy Chen, professor at Chung Yuan Christian University and former commissioner of the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission.
Panelists share insights into "The Role of Comity and Cooperation in the Global Antitrust."
Ramos set the stage with an analogy: “I see due process as the equivalent of when I was in school and the math teacher would require me to show my work. You can’t show your solution; you need to show how you came to that conclusion. … It is due process that allows you to come to a much better view of the facts, to show your reasoning and explain to the world what you’re doing. … All companies should rally around due process.” He added that U.S. and European enforcers have led the way, but “there is a lot of work to be done.”
The panel discussed topics such as attempts at establishing international norms for due process and challenges arising from the lack thereof, as well as what judicial review should look like. Professor Chen outlined the enforcement structure for due process and transparency of the TFTC, including investigation, hearing and decision-making procedures and penalties.
The CTLB conference engaged attendees from around the globe.
The Enforcers Roundtable, moderated by Andrew DeVore, vice president and associate general counsel at Amazon.com, provided a window into four agencies, with Nakajima; Lynda Marshall, acting chief of the Foreign Commerce Section at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division; Claudia Berg, senior legal director of enforcement at the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK; and Zhao Yiqin, director of the Economic Inspection Division of the Competition Enforcement Bureau at the State Administration for Industry & Commerce in China.
The panel looked at strategic priorities for each agency, as well as best practices for companies to avoid antitrust violations.
Marshall shed light on some of the DOJ’s high-profile cases, including the Anthem-Cigna, Aetna-Humana and Alaska-Virgin mergers, indicating that fiscal year 2016 saw 1,832 merger filings and 25 challenges. She said merger and technology cases continue to be a priority. Berg discussed cases involving excessive pricing by pharmaceutical companies, including one that ended with Pfizer paying a 90,000-pound fine, and indicated that online markets remain a focus after the Google Maps-Streetmap case. Nakajima provided details on the JFTC’s cases against automotive companies, and Yiqin said that priorities for SAIC include public utilities because of the importance to public welfare and the lack of competition.
“We had good discussions amongst the panelists, and between them and the audience, on issues of comity, transparency and due process,” Peck said. “These are only some of the challenges that companies face in the global marketplace on a daily basis, and this is only the beginning of our work toward developing viable solutions through scholarly research, conversation and debate.”