EU/US Convergence in Competition Policy

FTC Chairman William Kovacic, easily one of the most insightful thinkers and writers on issues of global competition policy, has posted a new paper offering a thoughtful analysis of where the EU and US competition policy systems have been, where they are going, what institutional differences might cause the systems to converge or diverge further, and what to do about it. Kovacic notes that while “the apparent agreement on overall objectives would seem to be, and is, an important step toward achieving convergence between the two systems” it is important not to avoid frank discussions of what both US and EU officials mean when they invoke the concept of “consumer welfare” or “protecting competition, not competitors” precisely because these phrases can “are so open-ended that their true meaning in practice depends on how they are applied.” Kovacic goes on to discuss various institutional forces favoring both convergence and divergence and offering some suggestions for facilitating the adoption of superior norms. The paper is a must-read for anybody interested in global competition issues.

Read the full piece here.