The Sherman Act largely prohibits (1) anti-competitive agreements and (2) unilateral conduct that monopolizes or attempts to monopolize the relevant market. The law authorizes the Ministry of Justice to take legal action to prohibit conduct (i.e.: to prohibit violation of the law and also allows private parties who have been violated by unlawful conduct to bring actions for triple damages (i.e., three times more money in damages than the offense cost them). Over time, federal courts have developed legislation under the Sherman Act, which makes certain types of anti-competitive conduct illegal per se and analyzes other types of conduct on a case-by-case basis, if the conduct unduly restricts trade. Three laws have influenced the structure of American cooperatives. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 prohibited a large number of anti-competitive behaviour. While the intention was to limit the activities of trusts, railroads and banks, the Farm Association became the unwitting target of the Sherman Act. Congress tried to tackle the problem through the Clayton Act of 1914. The Clayton Act proved ineffective, as it only applied to organizations that were not implemented in a mutual interest and without capital stock. The Clayton Act therefore did not appear to apply to agricultural associations that invest in marketing and storage infrastructure, and the Clayton Act did not explicitly describe the licensed activities of an agricultural association. Although federal agreement laws have always been applicable to foreign trade, this application is particularly important today. Worldwide, the importance of anti-cartel legislation as a means of ensuring open and free markets, protecting consumers and preventing anti-competitive behaviour is increasingly evident. The Department of Justice (“the Department”) and the Federal Trade Commission (“the Commission” or “FTC”) (when jointly referred to as “the Agencies”), federal antitrust enforcement authorities have therefore made antitrust enforcement a top priority to enforce antitrust laws with respect to international transactions and, where appropriate, to cooperate with foreign authorities in enforcing such legislation. .

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