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Global Antitrust Prosecutions of Modern International Cartels

50 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2004  

John M. Connor

American Antitrust Institute (AAI)


International cartelists face investigations and possible fines in a score of national and supranational jurisdictions, but the three with the most consistent legal responses to global cartels are the United States, Canada, and the EU. This paper examines the antitrust fines and private penalties imposed on the participants of 167 international cartels discovered during 1990-2003. While more than US$ 10 billion in penalties has been imposed, it is doubtful that such monetary sanctions can deter modern international cartels. The apparently large size of government fines is distorted by one overwhelming case. Moreover, deterrence is frustrated by the failure of compensatory private suits to take hold outside of North America and the near absence of fines in most Asian jurisdictions. Without significant increases in cartel detection, in the levels of expected fines or civil settlements, or expansion of the standing of buyers to seek compensation, international price fixing will remain rational business conduct.

Keywords: international cartels, price fixing, antitrust, sanctions, deterrence

JEL Classification: K21, K33, L11, L13, L41

Suggested Citation

Connor, John M., Global Antitrust Prosecutions of Modern International Cartels. Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

John M. Connor (Contact Author)

American Antitrust Institute (AAI) ( email )

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United States
202-536-3408 (Phone)


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