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Notwithstanding certain economic turbulence, public antitrust enforcement over the past year remained strong, reflecting a clear belief among antitrust regulators that efficient and effective enforcement of competition laws can be a positive contributor to economic growth. Cartel enforcement therefore remained a priority for regulators globally. As the cartel agenda is also gradually turning its attention to less obvious antitrust infringements, we have learnt that it has never been more important for companies to ensure that compliance systems do not simply 'tick the box'; they need to be specifically tailored to individual companies and industries and rigorously applied.
A further area of international interest is the application of the antitrust rules in the digital economy. Vertical supply and distribution agreements have raised their antitrust profile, as exemplified by the ongoing investigation – both in the US and the EU - of the vertical aspects of agency agreements for the sale of eBooks. Such cases are likely to revisit and refresh established precedent on the nature of a 'true' agency arrangement, and on the circumstances in which manufacturers and retailers may agree on pricing structures, particularly in the online context.
These and other developments confirm the increasingly global nature of public antitrust enforcement. Competition lawyers must view activity in their home forum in the context of wider developments beyond their borders. Assembling contributions by recognised leaders from 30 of the most significant jurisdictions worldwide, this review aims to serve as an indispensable international guide to current topics in public competition law for in house counsel and private practitioners.