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Competition in U.S. international trade agreements

Competition policy under U.S. international trade agreements benefits from the cooperation of U.S. antitrust agencies.

For example, in the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (USMCA), which entered into force on July 1, 2020, there is a chapter on competition that contains the most extensive procedural fairness provisions of all trade agreements signed by the United States.

These provisions relate to transparency and non-discrimination and include detailed rules to ensure minimum procedural fairness.

According to World Trade Organization (WTO) data, U.S. antitrust agencies have entered into agreements on competition-related matters with 18 trading partners.

In September 2020, the U.S. antitrust agencies signed the Multilateral Framework for Mutual Assistance for Competition Authorities with their counterparts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The Framework forms the basis for bilateral investigative assistance agreements, including the exchange of confidential information and the cross-border collection of evidence.

It includes a memorandum of understanding that aims to strengthen and enhance the tools for interagency coordination and collaboration on cases, as well as a model agreement.

In collaboration with their G7 counterparts, U.S. representatives published in July 2019 a Common Understanding of the G7 Competition Authorities on Competition and the Digital Economy (“Common Understanding”).

Competition

U.S. antitrust agencies have also been active participants in international bodies such as the International Competition Network, the OECD Competition Committee, UNCTAD, and the Competition Policy and Law Group of the APEC Economic Committee.

In May 2019, the DOJ successfully launched the Competition Authority Procedures Framework (CAP), sponsored by the International Competition Network, which aims to promote due process and fair and efficient procedures in investigations conducted by competition authorities.

More than 70 competition authorities have already signed the CAP.

 

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