17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 101 (2010)

Kfir Abutbul, J.D., Columbia Law School, 2010; LL. B., University College London, Faculty of Laws, 2010.

The U.S.  and E.U  competition regulation regimes, or antitrust regulation, as the regime is known in the U.S.,  serve as the global leaders of competition compliance enforcement. Many of their developments percolate to other competition regulation regimes, and any cross-border transaction will usually require in depth knowledge of the enforcement regulations in either of these jurisdictions, if not both. Most importantly, international counsel must be able to assess enforcement trends and make a judgment on the efficiency of cross border enforcement in transactions that span markets. Local interests outside the scope of pure economic considerations, however, still affect the decision-making process on either side of the Atlantic. Different enforcement techniques, traditions, and even cultures may affect overall results as well as imposing substantial costs for all involved. It is essential, therefore, to understand and analyze the trends affecting these competition regimes and attempt to detect signs of convergence or divergence in enforcement that may affect transaction planning by allowing for increased transactional cost-savings or by  presenting new and potentially costly issues for transaction planners. This paper explores the essential relationship between the U.S.  and E.U.  competition regulation regimes, and attempts to provide a useful account on whether their relationship is approaching a process of convergence, whereby rules and applications will become more closely entwined, or the reverse process of divergence. By  using case studies and accepted economic theory, this paper attempts to provide both a useful account of these important trends and a conclusion as to where the global transaction market may be heading in terms of competition compliance enforcement.