The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice signed an antitrust memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Government of India Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to promote increased cooperation and communication among competition agencies in both countries. The ceremony took place in Washington, D.C.
The MOU was signed by FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, Acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao on behalf of the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs and CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla.
“We are delighted to enter into this memorandum of understanding with the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Competition Commission of India. It will strengthen the already excellent relations among the U.S. and Indian competition authorities by further facilitating cooperation on policy and enforcement matters,” FTC Chairman Leibowitz said.
U.S. and Indian officials who attended the signing of the memorandum of understanding included the following:
First Row (right to left): Jon Leibowitz, Chairman, Federal Trade Commission; Ambassador Arun Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM), Embassy of India; Dr. Ashok Chawla, Chairman, Competition Commission of India; Joe Wayland, Acting Assistant Attorney General, DOJ Antitrust Division.
Back Row (right to left): Blair Hall, Minister Counselor (Economic Affairs), U.S. Embassy in New Delhi; Maureen Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission; Edith Ramirez, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission; Sukriti Likhi, Counselor (Economic), Embassy of India; Datta Padsalgikar, Minister (Personnel & Community Affairs), Embassy of India; Leslie Overton, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, DOJ Antitrust Division; Rachel Brandenburger, Special Advisor, International, DOJ Antitrust Division; Anjana Modi, Senior Economic Officer, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), Department of State; Alyssa Ayres, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), Department of State.
Commenting on the signing, Acting Assistant Attorney General Wayland said, “We value our relationship with the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs and the Competition Commission of India. We know that this memorandum of understanding will enhance that relationship in the years ahead, as we work together to ensure that markets are open and competitive, by identifying and remedying anticompetitive behavior.”
Key provisions of the MOU address the following:
- Cooperation – The MOU provides that the U.S. antitrust agencies and Indian authorities will work to keep each other informed of significant competition policy and enforcement developments in their jurisdictions, and establishes a framework for technical cooperation. The MOU also recognizes that when the U.S. and Indian competition agencies are investigating related matters, it may be in their common interests to cooperate.
- Communication – The MOU establishes a framework for the U.S. antitrust agencies and the Indian competition authorities to consult on matters of competition enforcement and policy. It also contemplates periodic meetings among officials to exchange information on policy and enforcement priorities.
The MOU is a framework for voluntary cooperation and will not change existing law in either country. India adopted its modern competition law in 2002, and the law’s main provisions were put into effect between 2009 and 2011.
The Commission vote authorizing Chairman Leibowitz to sign the MOU on behalf of the agency, which was taken before Commissioner William E. Kovacic left the FTC and was replaced by Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen, was 5-0.