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MPMCSA Antitrust Policy and Meeting Guidelines

 

I. Statement of Policy

It is the policy of the Mississippi Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Stores Association (MPM&CSA) and its members to comply strictly with all laws applicable to MPM&CSA's activities. Since MPM&CSA's activities involve cooperative undertakings and meetings among competitors, the Board of Directors emphasizes the on-going commitment of MPM&CSA and its members to full compliance with federal and state antitrust laws. A statement explaining this policy is to be distributed at all MPM&CSA meetings to remind each member of this commitment and as a general guide for our activities and meetings.

 

II. Responsibility for Antitrust Compliance

MPM&CSA's programs have been carefully designed and reviewed to ensure their conformity with antitrust standards. Each MPM&CSA member has an equivalent responsibility for antitrust compliance. Each business enterprise and MPM&CSA depend upon good judgment by all to avoid discussions and activities which could involve improper subject matter for discussion which may have unintended implications, and counsel for MPM&CSA provides guidance with regard to these matters.

Thus, all concerned have an important and individual responsibility for assuring antitrust compliance in MPM&CSA activities.

 

III. Meeting Procedures

To avoid even the appearance of questionable activity, as well as to guard against inadvertent conduct, all MPM&CSA meetings will be conducted in accord with the following procedures:

 

  • A written agenda will be prepared.
  • Accurate minutes of every meeting will be prepared, expeditiously sent to the participants, and approved at the next meeting.
  • In case of doubt about the propriety of a topic of discussion, consult staff management or corporate counsel.
  • If a member has a reservation concerning remarks or discussion at a MPM&CSA meeting, officially state the reservation; if the discussion is not terminated or resolved satisfactorily, the concerned member should leave the meeting.
  • Rump sessions involving the discussion of business matters should be avoided.

 

IV. Antitrust Guidelines

The antitrust laws seek to preserve a free competitive economy in the United States and in commerce with foreign countries. As a general rule, competitors may not restrain competition among themselves through understandings or agreements as to the price, the production, or the distribution of their products, or other agreements which unreasonably restrict competition. They may not act in concert to restrict the competitive capabilities or opportunities of their competitors, their suppliers, or their customers.

The antitrust laws, however, are often of unclear applicability, and unlawful agreements can be inferred from circumstantial evidence. Furthermore, penalties for violating the antitrust laws are severe. The guidelines, set forth below, are designed to avoid even the appearance of questionable activity. At MPM&CSA meetings, the following will not be discussed:

 

  • Current or future prices.
  • What constitutes a "fair" profit level.
  • Possible increases or decreases in prices.
  • Standardization or stabilization of prices.
  • Pricing procedures.
  • Cash discounts.
  • Credit terms.
  • Control of sales.
  • Allocation of markets or geographical division of markets.
  • Refusal to deal with a corporation because of its pricing or distribution practices.
  • Whether or not the pricing practices of any industry member are unethical or constitute an unfair trade practice.

 

V. Conclusion

Compliance with these guidelines involves not only avoidance of antitrust violations, but avoidance of any behavior which might be considered improper. Antitrust laws are complex and far-reaching. This statement is not a complete summary of all applicable laws. It is intended to highlight and emphasize certain basic precautions designed to avoid antitrust problems. In case of doubt, seek the guidance of staff management or MPM&CSA counsel or your own corporate counsel if antitrust questions arise. More detailed information is available upon request.

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