Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Antitrust Bill Targeting Oil Cartels Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

This posting was written by Jeffrey May, editor of CCH Trade Regulation Reporter.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill on April 25 that would allow the federal government to take legal action against foreign states, including members of OPEC, for price fixing and artificially limiting the amount of available oil

The Judiciary Committee approved the proposed “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2007” or “NOPEC” (S. 879) unanimously.

The bill, which would amend the Sherman Act, would clear the way for the federal courts to hear antitrust suits against OPEC, according to Senator Herb Kohl, the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee.

“Our bill will hold OPEC member nations to account under the U.S. antitrust law when they agree to limit supply or fix prices in violation of the most basic principles of free competition,” Kohl remarked.

Under the bill, the Justice Department would have the authority to bring actions against foreign states for collusive practices.

Information about Senate Bill 879, including the text and current status, appears at the Thomas web site of the Library of Congress.

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