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§ 2158. Voluntary agreements and plans of action for preparedness programs and expansion of production capacity and supply

(a) Immunity from civil and criminal liability or defense to action under antitrust laws; exceptions
Except as specifically provided in subsection (j) of this section, no provision of this Act [sections 2061 to 2170, 2171, and 2172 of this Appendix] shall be deemed to convey to any person any immunity from civil or criminal liability, or to create defenses to actions, under the antitrust laws.
(b) Definitions
For purposes of this Act [sections 2061 to 2170, 2171, and 2172 of this Appendix]—
(1) Antitrust laws
The term “antitrust laws” has the meaning given to such term in subsection (a) of the first section of the Clayton Act [15 U.S.C. 12 (a)], except that such term includes section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act [15 U.S.C. 45] to the extent that such section 5 applies to unfair methods of competition.
(2) Plan of action
The term “plan of action” means any of 1 or more documented methods adopted by participants in an existing voluntary agreement to implement that agreement.
(c) Prerequisites for agreements and plans of action; delegation of authority to Presidential designees
(1) Upon finding that conditions exist which may pose a direct threat to the national defense or its preparedness programs, the President may consult with representatives of industry, business, financing, agriculture, labor, and other interests in order to provide for the making by such persons, with the approval of the President, of voluntary agreements and plans of action to help provide for the national defense.
(2) The authority granted to the President in paragraph (1) and subsection (d) may be delegated by him
(A) to individuals who are appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, or are holding offices to which they have been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate,
(B) upon the condition that such individuals consult with the Attorney General and with the Federal Trade Commission not less than ten days before consulting with any persons under paragraph (1), and (C) upon the condition that such individuals obtain the prior approval of the Attorney General, after consultation by the Attorney General with the Federal Trade Commission, to consult under paragraph (1).
(3) Upon a determination by the President, on a nondelegable basis, that a specific voluntary agreement or plan of action is necessary to meet national defense requirements resulting from an event that degrades or destroys critical infrastructure—
(A) an individual that has been delegated authority under paragraph (1) with respect to such agreement or plan shall not be required to consult with the Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission under paragraph (2)(B); and
(B) the President shall publish a rule in accordance with subsection (e)(2)(B) and publish notice in accordance with subsection (e)(3)(B) with respect to such agreement or plan as soon as is practicable under the circumstances.
(d) Advisory committees; establishment; applicable provisions; membership; notice and participation in meetings; verbatim transcript; availability to public
(1) To achieve the objectives of subsection (c)(1) of this section, the President or any individual designated pursuant to subsection (c)(2) may provide for the establishment of such advisory committees as he determines are necessary. In addition to the requirements specified in this section and except as provided in subsection (n), any such advisory committee shall be subject to the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, whether or not such Act or any of its provisions expire or terminate during the term of this Act [sections 2061 to 2170, 2171, and 2172 of this Appendix] or of such committees, and in all cases such advisory committees shall be chaired by a Federal employee (other than an individual employed pursuant to section 3109 of title 5, United States Code) and shall include representatives of the public. The Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission shall have adequate advance notice of any meeting and may have an official representative attend and participate in any such meeting.
(2) A full and complete verbatim transcript shall be kept of such advisory committee meetings, and shall be taken and deposited, together with any agreement resulting therefrom, with the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Such transcript and agreement shall be made available for public inspection and copying, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (1), (3), and (4) of section 552 (b) of title 5, United States Code.
(e) Rules; promulgation by Presidential designees; consultation by Attorney General with Chairman of Federal Trade Commission; approval of Attorney General; procedures; incorporation of standards and procedures for development of agreements and plans of action
(1) The individual or individuals referred to in subsection (c)(2) shall, after approval of the Attorney General, after consultation by the Attorney General with the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, promulgate rules, in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, incorporating standards and procedures by which voluntary agreements and plans of action may be developed and carried out.
(2) In addition to the requirements of section 553 of title 5, United States Code—
(A) general notice of the proposed rulemaking referred to in paragraph (1) shall be published in the Federal Register, and such notice shall include—
(i) a statement of the time, place, and nature of the proposed rulemaking proceedings;
(ii) reference to the legal authority under which the rule is being proposed; and
(iii) either the terms of substance of the proposed rule or a description of the subjects and issues involved;
(B) the required publication of a rule shall be made not less than thirty days before its effective date; and
(C) the individual or individuals referred to in paragraph (1) shall give interested persons the right to petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule.
(3) The rules promulgated pursuant to this subsection incorporating standards and procedures by which voluntary agreements may be developed shall provide, among other things, that—
(A) such agreements shall be developed at meetings which include—
(i) the Attorney General or his delegate,
(ii) the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission or his delegate, and
(iii) an individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) or his delegate,
and which are chaired by the individual referred to in clause (iii);
(B) at least seven days prior to any such meeting, notice of the time, place, and nature of the meeting shall be published in the Federal Register;
(C) interested persons may submit written data and views concerning the proposed voluntary agreement, with or without opportunity for oral presentation;
(D) interested persons may attend any such meeting unless the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) finds that the matter or matters to be discussed at such meeting falls within the purview of matters described in section 552b (c) of title 5, United States Code;
(E) a full and verbatim transcript shall be made of any such meeting and shall be transmitted by the chairman of the meeting to the Attorney General and to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission;
(F) any voluntary agreement resulting from the meetings shall be transmitted by the chairman of the meetings to the Attorney General, the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and the Congress; and
(G) any transcript referred to in subparagraph (E) and any voluntary agreement referred to in subparagraph (F) shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to paragraphs (1), (3), and (4) of section 552 (b) of title 5, United States Code.
(f) Commencement of agreements and plans of action; expiration date; extensions
(1) A voluntary agreement or plan of action may not become effective unless and until—
(A) the individual referred to in subsection (c)(2) who is to administer the agreement or plan approves it and certifies, in writing, that the agreement or plan is necessary to carry out the purposes of subsection (c)(1) and submits a copy of such agreement or plan to the Congress; and
(B) the Attorney General (after consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission) finds, in writing, that such purpose may not reasonably be achieved through a voluntary agreement or plan of action having less anticompetitive effects or without any voluntary agreement or plan of action and publishes such finding in the Federal Register.
(2) Each voluntary agreement or plan of action which becomes effective under paragraph (1) shall expire 5 years after the date it becomes effective (and at 5-year intervals thereafter, as the case may be), unless (immediately prior to such expiration date) the individual referred to in subsection (c)(2) who administers the agreement or plan and the Attorney General (after consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission) make the certification or finding, as the case may be, described in paragraph (1) with respect to such voluntary agreement or plan of action and publish such certification or finding in the Federal Register, in which case, the voluntary agreement or plan of action may be extended for an additional period of 5 years.
(g) Monitoring of agreements and plans of action by Attorney General and Chairman of Federal Trade Commission
The Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission shall monitor the carrying out of any voluntary agreement or plan of action to assure—
(1) that the agreement or plan is carrying out the purposes of subsection (c)(1);
(2) that the agreement or plan is being carried out under rules promulgated pursuant to subsection (e);
(3) that the participants are acting in accordance with the terms of the agreement or plan; and
(4) the protection and fostering of competition and the prevention of anticompetitive practices and effects.
(h) Required provisions of rules for implementation of agreements and plans of action
The rules promulgated under subsection (e) with respect to the carrying out of voluntary agreements and plans of action shall provide—
(1) for the maintenance, by participants in any voluntary agreement or plan of action, of documents, minutes of meetings, transcripts, records, and other data related to the carrying out of any voluntary agreement or plan of action;
(2) that participants in any voluntary agreement or plan of action agree, in writing, to make available to the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action, the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice any item maintained pursuant to paragraph (1);
(3) that any item made available to the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action, the Attorney General, or the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission pursuant to paragraph (2) shall be available from such individual, the Attorney General, or the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, as the case may be, for public inspection and copying, subject to paragraph (1), (3), or (4) of section 552 (b) of title 5, United States Code;
(4) that the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action, the Attorney General, and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, or their delegates, may attend meetings to carry out any voluntary agreement or plan of action;
(5) that a Federal employee (other than an individual employed pursuant to section 3109 of title 5 of the United States Code) shall attend meetings to carry out any voluntary agreement or plan of action;
(6) that participants in any voluntary agreement or plan of action provide the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action, the Attorney General, and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission with adequate prior notice of the time, place, and nature of any meeting to be held to carry out the voluntary agreement or plan of action;
(7) for the attendance by interested persons of any meeting held to carry out any voluntary agreement or plan of action, unless the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action finds that the matter or matters to be discussed at such meeting falls within the purview of matters described in section 552b (c) of title 5, United States Code;
(8) that the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action has published in the Federal Register prior notification of the time, place, and nature of any meeting held to carry out any voluntary agreement or plan of action, unless he finds that the matter or matters to be discussed at such meeting falls within the purview of matters described in section 552b (c) of title 5, United States Code, in which case, notification of the time, place, and nature of such meeting shall be published in the Federal Register within ten days of the date of such meeting;
(9) that—
(A) the Attorney General (after consultation with the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer a voluntary agreement or plan of action), or
(B) the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2), to administer a voluntary agreement or plan of action (after consultation with the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission),
may terminate or modify, in writing, the voluntary agreement or plan of action at any time, and that effective, immediately upon such termination or modification, any antitrust immunity conferred upon the participants in the voluntary agreement or plan of action by subsection (j) shall not apply to any act or omission occurring after the time of such termination or modification;
(10) that participants in any voluntary agreement or plan of action be reasonably representative of the appropriate industry or segment of such industry; and
(11) that the individual designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) to administer the voluntary agreement or plan of action shall provide prior written notification of the time, place, and nature of any meeting to carry out a voluntary agreement or plan of action to the Attorney General, the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and the Congress.
(i) Rules; promulgation by Attorney General and Chairman of Federal Trade Commission
The Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission shall each promulgate such rules as each deems necessary or appropriate to carry out his responsibility under this section.
(j) Defenses
(1) In general
Subject to paragraph (4), there shall be available as a defense for any person to any civil or criminal action brought under the antitrust laws (or any similar law of any State) with respect to any action taken to develop or carry out any voluntary agreement or plan of action under this section that—
(A) such action was taken—
(i) in the course of developing a voluntary agreement initiated by the President or a plan of action adopted under any such agreement; or
(ii) to carry out a voluntary agreement initiated by the President and approved in accordance with this section or a plan of action adopted under any such agreement, and
(B) such person—
(i) complied with the requirements of this section and any regulation prescribed under this section; and
(ii) acted in accordance with the terms of the voluntary agreement or plan of action.
(2) Scope of defense
Except in the case of actions taken to develop a voluntary agreement or plan of action, the defense established in paragraph (1) shall be available only if and to the extent that the person asserting the defense demonstrates that the action was specified in, or was within the scope of, an approved voluntary agreement initiated by the President and approved in accordance with this section or a plan of action adopted under any such agreement and approved in accordance with this section. The defense established in paragraph (1) shall not be available unless the President or the President’s designee has authorized and actively supervised the voluntary agreement or plan of action.
(3) Burden of persuasion
Any person raising the defense established in paragraph (1) shall have the burden of proof to establish the elements of the defense.
(4) Exception for actions taken to violate the antitrust laws
The defense established in paragraph (1) shall not be available if the person against whom the defense is asserted shows that the action was taken for the purpose of violating the antitrust laws.
(k) Surveys and studies by Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission; content; annual report to Congress and President by Attorney General
The Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission shall each make surveys for the purpose of determining any factors which may tend to eliminate competition, create or strengthen monopolies, injure small business, or otherwise promote undue concentration of economic power in the course of the administration of this section. Such surveys shall include studies of the voluntary agreements and plans of action authorized by this section. The Attorney General shall (after consultation with the Federal Trade Commission) submit to the Congress and the President at least once every year reports setting forth the results of such studies of voluntary agreements and plans of action.
(l) Annual report to Congress and President by Presidential designees; contents
The individual or individuals designated by the President in subsection (c)(2) shall submit to the Congress and the President at least once every year reports describing each voluntary agreement or plan of action in effect and its contribution to achievement of the purpose of subsection (c)(1).
(m) Jurisdiction to enjoin statutory exemption or suspension and order for production of transcripts, etc.; procedures
On complaint, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction to enjoin any exemption or suspension pursuant to subsections (d)(2), (e)(3)(D) and (G), and (h)(3), (7), and (8), and to order the production of transcripts, agreements, items, or other records maintained pursuant to this section by the Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission or any individual designated under subsection (c)(2), where the court determines that such transcripts, agreements, items, or other records have been improperly withheld from the complainant. In such a case the court shall determine the matter de novo, and may examine the contents of such transcripts, agreements, items, or other records in camera to determine whether such transcripts, agreements, items, or other records or any parts thereof shall be withheld under any of the exemption or suspension provisions referred to in this subsection, and the burden is on the Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission, or such designated individual, as the case may be, to sustain its action.
(n) Exemption from Advisory Committee Act provisions
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) and any other provision of Federal law relating to advisory committees shall not apply to—
(1) the consultations referred to in subsection (c)(1); or
(2) any activity conducted under a voluntary agreement or plan of action approved pursuant to this section that complies with the requirements of this section.
(o) Preemption of contract law in emergencies
In any action in any Federal or State court for breach of contract, there shall be available as a defense that the alleged breach of contract was caused predominantly by action taken during an emergency to carry out a voluntary agreement or plan of action authorized and approved in accordance with this section. Such defense shall not release the party asserting it from any obligation under applicable law to mitigate damages to the greatest extent possible.

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