For those of you who are not familiar with work of the Antitrust Modernization Committee, and I suspect that this includes most of our readers, the AMC was created by the Antitrust Modernization Committee Act of 2002, and is charged with the following tasks:
(1) to examine whether the need exists to modernize the antitrust laws and to identify and study related issues;
(2) to solicit views of all parties concerned with the operation of the antitrust laws;
(3) to evaluate the advisability of proposals and current arrangements with respect to any issues so identified; and
(4) to prepare and submit to Congress and the President a report.
The AMC has all but concluded tasks (1) and (2) as of January 19, when it held its Economists’ Roundtable on Merger Enforcement, the last of a series of hearings on a variety of antitrust issues. After reading through most of the transcripts and written submissions, which are very usefully available online at amc.gov, I am hopeful that the AMC’s report (due in April 2007) will be an important first step towards antitrust reform. Who knows, maybe the AMC will persuade legislators that it is time to overturn or significantly curtail the application ofthe Robinson-Patman Act? At a minimum, it promises to keep antitrust lawyers and economists busy for awhile.