Prominent antitrust leaders from 35 countries convened at Fordham Law School’s 31st Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy, one of the premiere forums worldwide focusing on global competition. The consensus among those gathered on Oct. 7 and 8 was that with more than 100 economic regions enacting sometimes opposing policies to protect national economic interests, the need for cooperation among international antitrust organizations is greater than ever.

“Different people have different pieces of the puzzle. We need cooperation, we need more dialogue in the international community,” said Sheridan Scott, commissioner of competition for the Canadian Competition Bureau in Gatineau. “By sharing information, learning how other agencies work and identifying approaches that are most effective, we can create a more efficient market environment.”

The growing reach of the business sector into regions and countries that have not historically been players in the global economy, such as Southeast Asia and China, has raised concerns that protectionist and anti-competitive national policies will emerge and subsequently constrain the market.

The International Competition Network, formed in 2001 and comprised of nearly 70 developed and developing nations, including the United States and the European Union, has provided a platform for the high level of cooperation that many say needs to take place within the international community.

“We need to develop more trust, more comity among the international antitrust community,” said R. Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general of the antitrust division in the U.S. Department of Justice. “Cooperation among international antitrust enforcement agencies can produce substantial cooperation in the fight against international conglomerates.”

More than 400 professionals and academics in competition and antitrust law attended the annual two-day conference that featured such notable panelists as Mario Monti, commissioner for competition for the European Commission, and Deborah Majoras, chairman of the United States Federal Trade Commission.