FTC Schedules Final Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection
On May 31, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) posted the agenda for its final hearing in the “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century” series. The hearing will take place on June 12, 2019. The FTC has invited state attorneys general from 14 states to participate on a series of panels discussing “consumer protection and antitrust enforcement policy issues.”
The involvement of state attorneys general in the FTC’s hearing is a reminder that often a state attorney general and the FTC will work closely together when evaluating or investigating antitrust or other consumer protection matters. Indeed, state attorneys general can often be more focused on antitrust conduct that will harm consumers in their respective states and have a better context for how conduct may (or may not) cause harm to those consumers.
The hearing will also include a discussion of “error-cost considerations” (i.e., whether the cost of enforcement outweighs the benefits) and its role in influencing the “Commission’s case selection and advocacy agenda.” Error-cost considerations can assist an agency in making determinations on whether a particular enforcement action will have the appropriate deterrent effect—or, alternatively, stifle or chill innovation in a particular market.
As always, the FTC invites comments relating to the topics being discussed.