By AgGateway Marketing Communications Director Susan Ruland
If you’ve attended an AgGateway meeting or call, you’ve heard the leader reference the antitrust guidelines and direct that all attendees adhere to that guidance. But over time, different versions of this antitrust reminder have developed. So as a matter of best practice, staff is sharing some wording that all leaders should use moving forward.
Specifically, all leaders should state at the beginning of each call/meeting:
“In all of AgGateway’s operations and activities, it must avoid discussions or conduct that might violate applicable antitrust laws, or even appear to do so. To that end, AgGateway has established antitrust guidelines, which it has provided to each participant in this meeting. While it is your ultimate responsibility to ensure that your actions comply with applicable antitrust laws, your participation in this meeting is affirmation that you will abide by AgGateway’s guidelines.”
No vote or vocal affirmation from attendees is required, just the reading of this statement. At the same time, be aware that the antitrust guidelines are publicly posted and available to all on the AgGateway website. [PDF]
Please also note as part of the guidelines that it is important to publish meeting agendas in advance of the meeting – preferably one week in advance; to take and publish meeting minutes; and to include in the minutes all attendees.
As a refresher of the antitrust guidelines, here’s a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" that highlight only the most basic antitrust principles.
1. DO NOT, in fact or appearance, discuss or exchange information regarding:
a. Individual company prices, price changes, price differentials, mark-ups, discounts, allowance, credit terms, etc., or data that bear on price (e.g., costs, production, capacity, inventories, sales).
b. Industry pricing policies, price levels, price changes, differentials, etc.
c. Industry production, capacity, or inventories.
d. Bids on contracts for particular products; procedures for responding to bid invitations.
e. Plans of individual companies concerning the design, production, distribution, promotion, or marketing of particular products, including proposed territories or customers.
f. Matters relating to actual potential individual customers or suppliers that might have the effect of excluding them from any market or of influencing the business conduct of firms toward such suppliers or customers.
2. DO NOT discuss or exchange information regarding the above matters during social gatherings incidental to meetings, even in jest.
1. Adhere to prepared agendas for all meetings and object when meeting minutes do not accurately reflect the matters that transpired.
2. Understand the purposes and authority of the group.
3. Consult with your company counsel on all antitrust questions relating to the activities, discussions, or meetings of the group.
4. Protest any discussions, meetings or activities that appear to violate the antitrust laws; disassociate yourself from any such discussions or activities and leave any meeting in which they continue.
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