NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Does Globalization Require Countries To Harmonize Antitrust Policies?

June 26, 2001

With the European Commission poised to reject General Electric Co.'s proposed acquisition of Honeywell International Inc., some trade experts see the need for countries to get together and iron out the differences in their merger and acquisition policies.

  • Experts say that globally there are upward of 70 merger-review systems -- with another two dozen being hatched.
  • Last fall, the Clinton administration endorsed the establishment of a global body -- along the lines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- to improve coordination among trust busters and vet cross-border mergers.
  • Multinational companies and their lawyers reportedly want politicians to put away their weapons and promote discussions among one another -- with the aim of eliminating friction between multiple, overlapping jurisdictions.
  • Even minor changes in merger-filing requirements, approval timetables and market definitions could translate into big savings for companies doing deals -- and ultimately for the customers and consumers who indirectly pick up the tab.

Observers say the European Commission has repeatedly called for greater international cooperation in this area. So far, the Bush administration has been silent on the issue, due to delays in confirmations at the Justice Department's Antitrust Division and at the Federal Trade Commission.

Source: Brandon Mitchener, "Can Globalization Include Regulators? After, GE, Multinationals Seek More Cooperation Among Trust Busters," Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2001.

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