Antitrust Law Daily Department of Justice signs antitrust MOU with South Korea enforcement agency
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Department of Justice signs antitrust MOU with South Korea enforcement agency

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim spoke about the effective relationship between the Department Justice and Korean Prosecution Service in combatting criminal cartels.

To promote increased cooperation and communication on criminal antitrust and policy between the United States and South Korea, the Department of Justice has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Korean Prosecution Service (KPS) in a virtual ceremony held November 17, 2020. The MOU with the KPS resembles an earlier MOU the Department signed with the Korea Fair Trade Commission in 2015.

Highlights of the MOU include the following:

  • a shared commitment to consider both parties’ enforcement objectives and important interests when conducting enforcement activities;
  • a commitment of both parties to exchange experiences on the enforcement of their criminal cartel laws and engage in shared trainings and other technical assistance initiatives; and
  • an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information provided by the other party and honor prohibitions on sharing information when not permitted by law.

In prepared remarks at the virtual ceremony, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division said that the relationship between the two enforcement agencies has grown due to their shared commitment to assist one another in criminal cartel matters. As a result, the MOU focuses on cooperation and coordination with each agency committing to sharing information and to "give careful consideration to one another’s interests when conducting enforcement activities."

Delrahim highlighted some of the shared collaborations and accomplishments that are already in place between the agencies. These include shared training initiatives, cooperating and coordinating effectively on investigations, and successfully exchanging information about policy initiatives. The antitrust official also looked to the future by discussing the projected significant reforms to South Korea’s competition laws which would provide the Korean Prosecution Service with "increased access to leniency applications and a broadened mandate to investigate and prosecute hard-core cartels." As the KPS strengthens its enforcement powers, Delrahim pledged the cooperation and support of the Justice Department.

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