I am pleased today to sign into law H.R. 4781, the "International Antitrust Enforcement Assistance Act of 1994." This important Administration initiative will help the antitrust enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to protect American consumers and businesses from price-fixing and other anticompetitive conduct by international businesses operating in our markets.
This Act will allow the Attorney General and the FTC to enter into agreements with foreign antitrust agencies. Under these agreements, the foreign agencies will, on a reciprocal basis, provide investigative information in their possession and obtain antitrust evidence on our agencies' behalf from persons and businesses within their jurisdiction. The Act includes appropriate safeguards to ensure that any confidential U.S. business information supplied to foreign antitrust authorities under those agreements will not be improperly used or disclosed.
This Act reflects the United States' commitment and resolve to ensure that American consumers and businesses reap the benefits of free and fair trade in our markets, including lower prices. It will also ensure that consumers and businesses will not become victims of anticompetitive market abuses. This legislation will help us in enforcing our antitrust laws against foreign and international firms who participate in our markets to the same extent as they are enforced against U.S. firms. Until now, U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies have often found vital evidence to be out of reach abroad.
At the initiative of Attorney General Reno and Assistant Attorney General Bingaman, this bill was introduced by a bipartisan coalition in both Houses of Congress and quickly won public and business support. I want to commend the bill's sponsors, particularly Chairman Metzenbaum and Senator Thurmond in the Senate, and Chairman Brooks and Representative Fish in the House, as well as the congressional leadership, for introducing and bringing this legislation to my desk so quickly.
I look forward with American consumers and businesses to the strengthened antitrust enforcement that should result from this Act. I am certain that we will achieve the cooperation of our trading partners as we seek to negotiate these agreements on a reciprocal basis.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
The White House, November 2, 1994.