Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Robert D. Shank

First Page



Obstacles to free competition are abundant in the international economy. Before 1992, the United States Department of Justice only attacked such obstacles if they impeded the import commerce of the United States. But as more and more businesses enter the international markets, the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in foreign markets free of export cartels and other obstacles to free competition is of greater concern. In 1992, the U.S. Justice Department addressed this concern by reversing prior policy and announcing that the U.S. government would also attack obstacles that impede the ability of U.S. businesses to export their products to foreign markets. This Note analyzes the complaints that have been filed by the Justice Department since the 1992 policy change, focusing on the jurisdictional issues that have yet to be contested and the international implications of such a change in policy. It then focuses on the legislation passed in 1994 to assist the Justice Department in international antitrust enforcement efforts, the International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994. This new legislation emphasizes cooperation and mutual assistance between the Justice Department and foreign antitrust enforcement bodies as the means to free the international economy from anticompetitive obstacles to free competition. The author concludes that, if confidentiality concerns of U.S. businesses are adequately safeguarded, the new legislation emphasizing bilateral mutual assistance in antitrust enforcement efforts offers more promise than the 1992 policy change in combating obstacles to free competition in foreign markets.