International co-operation in competition


International co-operation is key to increasing competition in a globalised world

Globalisation, the increasing significance of emerging economies, the borderless nature of the growing digital economy, and the proliferation of competition regimes have caused a significant increase in the complexity of cross-border competition law enforcement co-operation.

This results in a greater need to:

  • avoid inconsistencies and duplication of effort among governments enforcing their competition laws, 

  • help multinational businesses comply cost effectively with the competition regimes of multiple jurisdictions, and

  • improve the techniques and tools of competition authorities' co-operation.

For 50 years, the OECD and its Competition Committee have taken a leading role in shaping the framework for international co-operation among competition agencies. Recommendations, best practices and policy roundtables have served not only as models and inspiration for national initiatives but also as the primary drive for promoting co-operation on a global scale.

The OECD and its Competition Committee offer competition officials from developed and emerging economies a unique platform to monitor the state of international co-operation and to develop new solutions to increase its effectiveness.  This work benefits from the support of a professional Secretariat and from the Organisation’s whole-of-government approach, taking advantage of expertise in other OECD committees and experience in international co-operation. 


OECD work on international co-operation

Since 2012, international co-operation in competition enforcement is one of the main areas of work of the OECD Competition Committee.

Key issues under study include the existing models and tools for international co-operation, the constraints on further co-operation and possible new and different forms of co-operation.

The OECD work on international co-operation contributes to shaping new models for co-operation for the benefits of enforcers, businesses and consumers by:

  • surveying activities and challenges regarding informal co-operation of Member and non-Member agencies with a view to identify best practices;
  • providing examples of provisions for model bilateral or multilateral co-operation agreements. These may include provisions allowing the exchange of confidential information between competition authorities, and provisions on enhanced enforcement co-operation;  

  • exploring new forms of co-operation that can help reduce costs associated with investigations or proceedings by multiple competition authorities and avoid inconsistencies among Member countries’ enforcement actions;

  • minimising inconsistencies in leniency programmes of OECD countries that adversely affect co-operation.


Resulting outputs 

In 2013, the results of an OECD-ICN survey on international competition enforcement co-operation were published and suggested ideas for future work in the area.

The 2014 report “Challenges of International Co-operation in Competition Law Enforcement” was the first attempt to gather empirical evidence on the need for closer co-operation between competition enforcers. This report provided support to the negotiations of the OECD Recommendation on International Co-operation on Competition Investigations and Proceedings which was approved by the OECD Council on 16 September 2014.

The 2014 Recommendation is currently under review, and to this purpose a follow-up survey of OECD and ICN member countries was carried out in 2019. More information on recent developments in international competition enforcement co-operation will be made available in 2020/2021.


International co-operation agreements

In 2015, the OECD and its Competition Committee built an inventory of international co-operation agreements on competition. These agreements are the formal co-operation tool more commonly used by competition authorities in order to strengthen the scope and degree of their collaboration, deepen their relationships and formally express their commitment to work together.

In 2016, an inventory of international co-operation MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding) between competition agencies was also built.  Based on over 140 MoUs, the inventory lists examples of typical and atypical provisions which would be useful for the negotiation of MoUs.



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This page focuses on our discussion materials on international co-operation in competition. To find out more about our concrete international co-operation initiatives, access:

About Global relations

Hungary Regional Centre

Korea Regional Centre

Peru Regional Centre

Global Forum on Competition

Latin American and Caribbean Competition Forum


Recommendations and best practices

Recommendation on International Co-operation in Competition Investigations and Proceedings, 2014

Recommendation on Merger Review, 2005

Best Practices on Information Exchange, 2005

Recommendation on Hard Core Cartels, 2019

OECD discussions

Treatment of legally privileged information in competition proceedings, 2018

Enhanced enforcement co-operation, 2014

Provisions for the exchange of confidential information between agencies without waiver, 2013

Limitations and Constraints to International Co-operation, 2012

Stocktaking exercise of the Competition Committee's past work on international co-operation, 2012

Improving International Co-operation in Cartel Investigations, 2012

Cross-Border Merger Control: Challenges for Developing and Emerging Economies, 2011

Positive Comity, 1999

Notification of Transnational Mergers, 1998 
The Whish-Wood Report, 1992  

 » Competition Home Page


Abuse of dominance & monopolisation

Cartels & anti-competitive agreements

Digital Economy and innovation

Enforcement practices

Evaluation of competition interventions 

International co-operation

Liberalisation & intervention in regulated sectors

Market studies


Pro-competitive policy reforms  

Key materials, Tools & Guidance

Best practice roundtables

Calendar of activities

Competition assessment toolkit

Country reports & peer reviews

Fighting bid rigging in public procurement 


Reports by the Competition Committee

Reports by competition agencies

Global Relations

About global relations

Hungary centre

Korea centre

Peru centre

Global Forum on Competition

Latin American and Caribbean Competition Forum



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