Lingering Questions on Foreign Sovereignty and Separation of Powers After the Vitamin C Price-Fixing Verdict

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Antitrust, vol. 28, no. 1, Fall 2013, American Bar Association
THIS PAST SPRING, A NEW YORK JURY found Chinese manufacturers of vitamin C liable for fixing prices of exports from China into the United States, in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. In the private suit, the jury awarded treble damages––$162.3 million—to a plaintiff class of direct purchasers of vitamin C, and, in so doing, it explicitly rejected the Chinese vitamin C manufacturers’ central defense: that their agreement on prices was compelled by the Chinese government.1 That rejection is particularly striking because the Chinese government claimed responsibility for ordering the manufacturers to fix the prices in question. Moreover, the U.S. executive branch, through the U.S. Trade Represen - tative, alleged in a complaint to the World Trade Organi - zation (WTO) that the Chinese government had fixed prices of vitamin C exports
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