The avoidance of collusive practices by members of a trade or industry, which affect prices, fees, or the ability of others to compete is a major goal of the antitrust laws. This requires that particular attention be paid to activities at Fastmarkets RISI Conferences so that anticompetitive effects do not result. A summary of some of the aspects of antitrust compliance follows:
- Price–fixing is clearly illegal. This includes concerted action to raise, lower or stabilize prices. Price–fixing is a per se violation; that is, in itself it is deemed to be unreasonable restraint of trade. No company should exchange or discuss prices with a competitor at a Fastmarkets RISI meeting or elsewhere.
- There must be no agreement among competitors to limit or otherwise control production volumes. Discussion of production volumes or quotas should be avoided.
- Agreements to allocate customers or markets are also illegal. Discussion from which allocation agreements could be inferred must be avoided.
- Agreements to channel distribution are unlawful per se. For instance, agreements to sell only to contractors or only to builders would violate the law.
- Conspiracies in restraint of trade are seldom proved by direct evidence of agreements; rather, they are usually proved by inferences from writings, conduct and communications between competitors. Verbal understandings on prices, etc., are as illegal as written understandings. Such can be proved and, in fact, much of the evidence in antitrust cases consists of verbal communications.
Therefore, it is prudent and, in fact, essential to avoid discussions or activities from which unlawful action could be inferred by the enforcement agencies. Any such activity could subject attending companies to costly and highly prejudicial antitrust attack.
If at any time during the course of the conference you as an individual feel that the discussion borders on possible violation of antitrust compliance, you should indicate to the chair that you object. If the discussion continues, you should remove yourself from the situation after requesting that written record of your objection be made.