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ANTITRUST POLICY

 

It is the undeviating policy of the Independent Bakers Association to comply strictly with the letter and spirit of all federal, state and applicable international trade regulations and antitrust laws.  Any activities of IBA, its staff, members, officers, or association-related actions that violate these regulations and laws are detrimental to the interests of the association and are unequivocally contrary to association policy.

Core Regulation - The antitrust policy of IBA is primarily directed by the Sherman Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.  The Sherman Act prohibits "contracts, combinations or conspiracies in restraint of trade or commerce."  Such behavior is found to exist when there is an explicit or implicit agreement between two or more parties.  An explicit agreement can form by a written or oral contract.  An implicit agreement can form through conduct that can be construed as indicative of an agreement.  Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act prohibits "unfair methods of competition" as well as "unfair or deceptive acts or practices."  The law grants broad authority to the Federal Trade Commission to define what constitutes "unfair."  In addition, Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act permits the Federal Trade Commission to take action against "incipient" practices, which is conduct that has yet to, but will likely, amount to a violation of any antitrust laws.  Antitrust laws also govern interactions among businesses at different levels of the supply chain.  The Federal Trade Commission investigates a violation if an arrangement "reduces competition among firms at the same level."  

The arrangement is assessed by a standard of reasonableness "by analyzing the market in detail and balancing any harmful competitive effects against offsetting benefits."

Prohibited Conduct - A violation of antitrust laws could be inferred by the same or similar conduct or response by a majority of association members.  Therefore IBA and its members will not discuss the following topics at meetings, events or other association sanctioned activities:

(a) Joint negotiations with vendors or customers regarding payment terms, wages, salaries and profit levels

(b) Recommendations on bidding tactics or marketplace reactions to public policy

(c) Current or future billing rates, fees, disbursement charges, or other values that could be construed as "price"

(d) Fair profit, prices or wage levels

(e) Standardizing or stabilizing prices, fees or disbursements

(f) Any data exchange or statistical reporting that includes current prices of competitors, or data that can identify individual competitors

All association activities or discussion shall be avoided which might be construed as tending to:

(i) Raise, lower or stabilize prices

(ii) Regulate production

(iii) Allocate markets

(iv) Encourage boycotts

(v) Foster unfair trade practices

(vi) Assist monopolization

(vii) In any way violate federal, state or applicable international trade regulations and antitrust laws