This article analyzes one of the most contentious issues over the past fifty years in international economic law-the extent to which a nation may apply its law on an extra territorial basis and the limits, if any, posed by the doctrine of international comity. This article, based on Professor Waller's paper presented at the 1999 Wolfgang Friedmann conference, examines the reasons why the doctrine of international comity once represented the primary battleground for conflict over the extent of permissible extraterritoriality in United States antitrust law but no longer represents the forefront of current thought on this important issue. The article argues that the retrenchment of United States enforcement policy in foreign commerce antitrust cases, the diminution of comity in private antitrust cases, the failure of United States courts to apply comity during its heyday on a coherent and principled basis, the spread of extraterritoriality to foreign competition systems, the rise of more practical concerns in foreign commerce antitrust cases, and the emergence of new issues relating to competition law in transition economies and the potential role of the World Trade Organization in the competition field all contributed to the demise of comity as a controversial issue. This article concludes that the proponents of a broad role for international comity achieved a partial, but important, victory that laid the groundwork for the future agenda of the international competition law and policy community.
Copyright 2000 Spencer Weber Waller.