AMERICAN KNIFE MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION
Statements and Guidelines
It is the policy of the American Knife Manufacturers Association (“AKMA”) and its members (“members” when referenced herein refers to both Manufacturing and Associate members) to comply strictly with all laws applicable to association activities. AKMA activities involve cooperative undertakings and meetings of competitors. It is important to emphasize the on-going commitment of each AKMA member as well as the commitment of the Managing Director’s executive staff, subsidiary chairpersons and committee chairpersons to full compliance with federal and state antitrust laws. This statement is to be distributed to all new members of AKMA, to be available at no cost upon request to all members and is to be frequently referenced at AKMA meetings as a reminder of that commitment and as a general guide for AKMA activities and meetings.
Responsibility for Antitrust Compliance
The AKMA structure has been fashioned and its programs are carried out in conformity with antitrust standards. Each individual member and each representative of a member has an equal responsibility for antitrust compliance. This includes avoidance of even an appearance of improper activity. Each corporate member and AKMA itself depend on the good judgment of each representative to avoid all discussions and activities which may involve improper subject matter or improper procedures. The Managing Director’s executive staff work conscientiously to avoid subject matter or discussion which may have unintended implications, and legal counsel for AKMA will provide guidance with regard to these matters. It is important to realize, however, that the competitive significance of a particular conduct or communication probably is most evident to the members and their representatives, who are directly involved in the industry.
In general, the antitrust laws seek to preserve a free competitive economy and trade in the United States and in commerce with foreign countries. Competitors may not restrain competition among themselves with reference to the price or the quality or the distribution of their products. Competitors may not act in concert to restrict the competitive capabilities or opportunities of other competitors, their suppliers or customers. Individuals are subject to criminal prosecution, and may be punished by fines and imprisonment, for violation of federal and state antitrust laws. Likewise, member companies and AKMA itself can be fined and certain activities enjoined for violation of antitrust laws. Injured competitors can seek damages against member companies, their representatives and AKMA itself, which damages may be tripled in size, if the unlawful activity has harmed the competitor.
Since each member and each member representative has an important, personal responsibility in ensuring antitrust compliance in AKMA activities, each representative should read and heed the following guidelines:
- Don’t discuss with other member representatives your own or competitors’ prices, or anything that might affect prices such as costs, discounts, terms of sale or profit margins.
- Don’t stay at a meeting in which any such price talk occurs. Get up and walk out.
- Don’t make public announcements or statements about your own prices or those of competitors at AKMA functions.
- Don’t talk about what individual companies plan to do in particular geographic or product markets or with particular customers.
- Don’t disclose to others at meetings or otherwise any competitively sensitive information.
- Do conduct all AKMA and committee business meetings in accordance with AKMA rules. These rules require that the Managing Director’s executive staff be present, the agenda be followed and minutes be kept.
- Do confer with the Managing Director’s executive staff or with legal counsel before bringing up any topic or making any statement with competitive ramifications.
- Do send copies of all AKMA-related correspondence to the Managing Director’s executive staff member involved in the activity.
- Do alert the Managing Director’s executive staff to any inaccuracies in proposed statements to be made by AKMA on behalf of the knife manufacturers industry, particularly statements to government officials.
- Remember that meetings with government officials may not provide a shield against antitrust liability.
Compliance with these guidelines involves not only avoidance of antitrust violations, but avoidance of any behavior which might be so construed. Bear in mind, however, that the antitrust laws are stated in general terms, and that this statement is not a summary of applicable laws. It is intended only to highlight and emphasize the principal antitrust standards which are relevant to AKMA. Individual member representatives, chairpersons and the Managing Director’s executive staff must, therefore, seek the guidance of either AKMA legal counsel or their own legal counsel if antitrust questions arise.
revised February 2014