FTC Announces Agenda for Fifth Session of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

November 1 session, originally postponed on September 14 due to inclement weather, will address vertical merger analysis and the consumer welfare standard

The Federal Trade Commission announced the agenda for the fifth session of its Hearings initiative, with a one-day session to be held at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. on November 1, 2018. This session reschedules the hearing session originally postponed on September 14 due to inclement weather.

The Georgetown event will examine vertical merger analysis and the role of the consumer welfare standard in U.S. antitrust law. See detailed agenda.

The Commission invites public comment on these issues, including on the questions listed below. Comments can be submitted electronically no later than December 31, 2018.

  1. Should the U.S. antitrust agencies publish Vertical Merger Guidelines? What guidance should they provide regarding the assessment of the competitive effects of vertical mergers, including the substantive theories of competitive harm and the treatment of transaction-related efficiencies?  Under what conditions, if any, should the guidelines recognize a presumption of anticompetitive harm? What showing should be required to overcome such a presumption?  Under what circumstances, if any, should behavioral remedies be accepted to remedy the likely anticompetitive effects of vertical mergers?
  2. Is the “consumer welfare standard” the appropriate standard for evaluating compliance with the antitrust laws? What are alternative frameworks with which to evaluate compliance with the antitrust laws? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Is there empirical support for preferring one standard instead of another standard?

Additional sessions of the FTC Hearings initiative will be held throughout the fall and early winter. An initial list of remaining sessions and topics follows, and additional sessions and topics will be announced later:

October 23-24, 2018
FTC Constitution Center

  • Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy

November 6-7, 2018
American University Washington College of Law

  • Privacy, Big Data, and Competition

November 13-14, 2018
Howard University School of Law

  • Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

The FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Request for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.gov or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

Hearing #5 On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century
9:00am to 5:45pm, November 1, 2018
Georgetown University Law Center’s Hart Auditorium
600 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20001

The Federal Trade Commission develops policy initiatives on issues that affect competition, consumers, and the U.S. economy. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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