The Federal Trade Commission just released a report, "The FTC's Role in a Changing World," which examines ways to enhance cooperation between the FTC and consumer protection authorities around the world, in order to maximize the effectiveness of the FTC's enforcement efforts.  The report follows-up hearings held by the FTC in March 2019. 

In the report, the FTC's Office of International Affairs made the following recommendations: 

  • Congress should make the U.S. SAFE WEB Act a permanent part of the FTC Act.  The SAFE WEB Act confirms the FTC's legal authority to sue foreign wrongdoers and challenge misleading practices with a nexus to the United States or American consumers and gives the FTC powers to enhance cross-border cooperation on consumer protection investigations and fraud actions.  The SAFE WEB Act sunsets on September 30, 2027. 
  • The FTC should pursue additional mechanisms for enhanced antitrust information sharing and investigative assistance and work to overcome foreign barriers to FTC enforcement.
  • The FTC should continue to exercise international leadership, leveraging its expertise and cross-disciplinary synergies to address  emerging issues. 
  • The FTC should expand on its initiatives to build strong relations with counterparts, including through its International Technical Assistance and International Follows programs. 
  • The FTC's experience and expertise should inform U.S. government policies that involve international issues within the FTC's mandate.

In connection with the release of the report, Acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said, "International cooperation on enforcement can strengthen all the agencies involved, so we must continue to prioritize the importance of working hand-in-hand with our counterparts across the globe."

For a deeper dive into the FTC's international consumer protection efforts, check out a recent fireside chat that the International Advertising Association hosted with Stacy Feuer, Assistant Director for International Consumer Protection at the FTC.  

Originally Published by Frankfurt Kurnit, February 2021

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