The Antitrust Laws of the United States of America: A Study of Competition Enforced by Law

By A. D. Neale | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
INTERNATIONAL CARTELS AND ANTITRUST

1. The Sherman Act and 'trade with foreign nations': the Webb- Pomerene Export Trade Act of 1918: the United States Alkali case

The general prohibition of contracts and conspiracies in restraint of trade in section 1 of the Sherman Act applies not only to trade 'among the several States' but also to trade 'with foreign nations'.1 A number of important antitrust cases have been concerned with trade with foreign nations -- with restrictive agreements between American and foreign firms, with the operations of American companies and their local subsidiaries in foreign markets, with foreign companies run jointly by American firms and their international competitors, and so on. For the most part these cases do not contain much that will be new to the reader in the way of restrictive practices or of legal principles. They do, however, include some good examples of market-sharing agreements, often based on cross-licensing of patents, which will serve to fill in gaps on this topic; and the position under antitrust of companies under the joint ownership of national or international competitors has interesting features.

But in any event the impact of antitrust on international trade warrants a separate chapter because of its peculiar interest to readers outside the United States. The case-law under this head may directly affect British and other companies, particularly if their business involves making commercial agreements with American companies or if there is an important American stake in their ownership and control. Moreover, this case-law gives rise to interesting questions about the extent of the jurisdiction claimed and exercised by the American courts over foreign concerns.

The operation of the Sherman Act in the field of foreign trade is qualified by the provisions of the Webb-Pomerene Export Trade Act

____________________
1
The subject-matter of this chapter is treated with the greatest thoroughness and authority in Antitrust and American Business Abroad by Kingman Brewster ( New York, McGraw- Hill, 1958.). Professor Brewster's book was published after the manuscript of this book was completed.

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