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Expert Group Co-Chaired by Deborah Garza Offers Plan for International Competition Issues

March 14, 2017

WASHINGTON—The International Competition Policy Expert Group (ICPEG), a bipartisan, independent committee of leading experts in trade and competition law and economics formed at the invitation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and co-chaired by Covington’s Deborah Garza and Sidley’s Andrew Shoyer, has released a policy analysis and recommendations for a more effective and better-integrated international trade and competition law strategy.

ICPEG was formed to consider the challenges presented by globally divergent approaches to antitrust and, in particular, the misuse of competition law to distort markets. According to ICPEG’s report, there is a growing concern that certain U.S. trading partners may be using their competition laws to harm competition by U.S. companies, protecting their own markets from foreign competition, promoting national champions, forcing technology transfers, and, in some cases, denying U.S. companies fundamental due process. 

ICPEG concluded that efforts during the Obama Administration to address these issues should be continued and strengthened through the use of trade policy and other tools. It has made 12 specific recommendations. The first six recommendations urge the Trump Administration to establish a new, cabinet-level White House working group to establish a government-wide strategy for addressing the misuse of competition law that impedes international trade and competition, undertake a comprehensive review of existing and new trade policy tools available to address the challenge, and recommend an “action list” for the President and Congress. The final six recommendations focus on steps that should be taken with international organizations and bilateral initiatives to, among other things, promote international consensus on the appropriate use of competition laws and the importance of fair and transparent processes.

"The United States has long supported the use of antitrust law to promote competitive markets that drive economic development and prosperity,” said Ms. Garza, who also serves as co-chair of Covington’s Antitrust and Competition Law Practice Group. “But there is legitimate concern that some countries may be using their competition laws to distort competition, to favor their own interests at the expense of U.S. companies and consumers and global economic prosperity. The bi-partisan, antitrust and trade expert recommendations in this report are intended to help the Administration and Congress deal more effectively with that threat." 

Ms. Garza practices in all areas of antitrust law, counseling clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, distribution practices, and complex litigation and in civil and criminal government investigations before state and federal enforcement agencies. Ms. Garza has previously served in various leadership roles within the antitrust bar, including as Chair of the Antitrust Modernization Commission and, prior to her return to Covington, as Acting Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

To read the International Competition Policy Expert Group’s report, click here.


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