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

  • urgently improve the techniques and tools of competition authority 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 enforcement 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.


Key issues under consideration

  • What are the existing types of international co-operation?

  • What are the constraints on further co-operation?

  • What are possible new and different forms of co-operation among agencies to enhance co-operation?
  • What is the OECD role to help governments to address the topic?


2015 - OECD inventory of international co-operation agreements on competition


2014 - OECD Recommendation on international co-operation in competition





Challenges of International Co-operation in Law Enforcement

This report presents evidence of the complexity of co-operation between competition agencies and the likely future challenges they will face to enforce competition law and co-operate effectively. 


OECD/ICN Survey on International Competition Enforcement Co-operation

This 2013 report presents the key findings from a joint survey by the OECD and the International Competition Network and suggests ideas for future work.


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The OECD project on international co-operation

International co-operation in competition enforcement is one of the OECD Competition Committee's primary strategic themes.

The 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.

Continuing work on international co-operation will contribute to shaping new models for co-operation for the benefits of enforcers, businesses and consumers alike. Specifically by:

  • surveying activities and challenges regarding informal co-operation of Member and non-Member agencies with a view to identify the best practices at agency level
  • developing model bilateral or multilateral co-operation agreements which may include provisions for adoption by member countries allowing the exchange of confidential information between competition authorities, enhanced co-operation tools and instruments  

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

  • minimising inconsistencies in leniency programs of member countries that adversely affect co-operation


International co-operation agreements

The OECD and its Competition Committee have built an inventory of international co-operation agreements. 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.


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