ICC challenges US over anti-trust ruling

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is fighting a legal decision it fears could make United States courts de facto global anti-trust regulators, even in cases with a negligible impact on the USA.

It has filed an amicus curiae brief to the US Supreme Court, asking it to overturn a DC Court of Appeals ruling allowing non-US plaintiffs to bring foreign anti-trust claims in American courts. These, said the ICC, could be launched if a claimant alleges a “single person” – maybe uninvolved in the original case – might “assert a ‘claim’ arising from a ‘direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect’ on US domestic or foreign commerce.”

The brief concluded: “If the ruling of the Court of Appeals is allowed to stand, the United States will indeed become the regulator of the competitive conditions of markets throughout the world. That would impose a massive burden on international businesses, and would likely exceed the limits of Congress’ jurisdiction to prescribe laws affecting the interests of other nations.” It is supporting European pharmaceutical companies Hoffmann-La Roche, BASF, Rhône-Poulenc and some subsidiaries in fighting the launch of a vitamin price fixing suit in US courts by Ecuador’s Empagran.