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FMC Clears Up Japanese Carrier Merger Confusion

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The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has cleared up confusion created by “numerous reports and articles in the press” that have wrongly communicated the organisation’s decision on the Japanese carrier tripartite agreement.

Publications have wrongly stated that the merger would have violated federal antitrust laws including gun jumping provisions and premature combining of the agreement parties’ business operations.

Acting Chairman Michael Khouri said: “It is unfortunate that such misinformation is circulating in the trade press about the Commission’s deliberations in this matter suggesting that the FMC considered whether the authority sought by parties would violate antitrust laws administered by other competition agencies.

“To our knowledge, these corporations came to the Commission in good faith with the single purpose of trying to comply with all US laws.

“The Commission made only one finding – that the Tripartite Agreement falls outside the jurisdiction of the Shipping Act of 1984.

“The Commission made no determination of any kind regarding the agreement parties’ commercial activities regarding their compliance with the general antitrust laws that are administered by other federal agencies.

“The Shipping Act expressly excludes acquisition agreements from the Act’s coverage.

“The cases that address the Commission’s authority to review these types of agreements have noted that Congress gave the Commission the power to review cooperative agreements that produce efficiencies, in order to prevent consolidation.

“This proposed Agreement is not the type of arrangement in which the parties would surrender control over a particular matter for the duration of the agreement but maintain their separate identity and original independence in the same line of business in all other respects.

“Thus, the Commission has determined that the creation of the joint venture, including the pre-consolidation cooperation intended to facilitate and permit its creation, falls outside the Commission’s jurisdiction.”

The FMC Commissioner Mario Cordero is departing the organisation this month for a position at the Port of Long Beach, California.

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