The Antitrust Car-Emissions Investigation in the Us: – Some Thoughts Form the Other Side of the Pond
CPI Antitrust Chronicle JULY · SUMMER 2020 · VOLUME 1(2) page 55-61
9 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2022
Date Written: May 1, 2020
Cooperation with and in the private sector to achieve positive environmental changes can come into conflict with competition laws. A recent example is the DOJ’s investigation of car producers regarding their voluntary adoption of California’s more stringent environmental standards. This brief paper looks at the DOJ’s investigation and contrasts it with how such a case would have been handled under EU law. In the EU, it is questionable whether such an arrangement would even have been subject to competition law in the first place or prohibited under the EU’s consumer welfare standard. While the DOJ dropped the case, it becomes clear that the U.S. and EU approaches to such agreements and standards seem to differ significantly, hence departing from the long-standing principle of comity. Questions also arise whether the goal of protecting the (federal) legislator rather than the consumer welfare standard motivated the case in the first place.
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