It doesn't exactly rival the fall of the Berlin Wall, but here's another indication of how much the world has changed in 20 years: Today the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice signed an antitrust memorandum of understanding with Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service.
After all, just two decades ago, the Soviet Union was one big, state-run monopoly. Now, the United States and Russia are pledging closer cooperation and communication when it comes to antitrust enforcement.
The memorandum was signed in Washington today by FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney, and FAS head Igor Artemyev.
The agreement establishes a framework for cooperation and communication between American and Russian antitrust enforcers. In the agreement, the agencies pledge to “keep each other informed of significant competition policy and enforcement developments in their respective jurisdictions, including proposed legislative and policy changes.”
They also “recognize that it is in their common interest to work together in technical cooperation activities related to competition law enforcement and policy.”
Each agency will appoint a liaison to facilitate contact. In addition, officials anticipate holding periodic meetings to exchange information and even participating in each other’s training courses.
While the United States has several antitrust cooperation agreements with foreign jurisdictions, this is the first entered into on a direct, agency-to-agency basis.