Purchasing Power and Buyers' Cartels


  22 June 2022  Paris

Competition law and enforcement often focuses on sellers and the conditions on which they sell their products or services to buyers.  However, competition also impacts how buyers interact with markets when purchasing goods and services, and competition law similarly applies to these interactions in many settings and jurisdictions.  These matters can range from co-ordinated conduct by buyers, such as cartels that conspire to lower purchase prices, to unilateral conduct by buyers that hold substantial purchasing power, with the focus of assessment being on monopsony or oligopsony power rather than the more common assessment of monopoly or oligopoly.

In June 2022, the OECD held a roundtable that explored purchasing power and buyers' cartel. This roundtable had a particular focus on buyer's cartels, including how authorities deal with these and whether there are differences in approach between them and sellers’ cartels. It also considered joint purchasing agreements, how distinct these are from cartels, as well as how authorities regulate the conduct of permitted joint purchasing agreements, such as their ability to boycott sellers.

The discussions revealed:
  • a high-level agreement on the need to consider competition issues in purchasing markets, both for monopsony power and bargaining power,
  • significant convergence on the treatment of buyers' cartels and joint purchasing agreements between jurisdictions, although levels of enforcement differ,
  • conversely, there are significantly different domestic legal systems for dealing with purchasing power when exercised unilaterally.

All related documentation is available on this page.

See the full list of best practice roundtables on competition.

Invited Speakers

Peter Carstensen Bio  
Professor, University of Wisconsin

Kazuhiko Fuchikawa Bio 
Associate Professor, Osaka Metropolitan University

Nancy Rose Bio  
Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology




OECD Background note l Version française

Detailed Summary of the discussion EN | FR

Executive Summary with key findings EN | FR


Contributions from delegations








France (EN | FR)







Chinese Taipei

United States

Summaries of contributions


Related best practice roundtables

Competition Issues in Labour Markets 2019

Monopsony and Buyer Power 2008

Competition and Regulation in Agriculture: Monopsony Buying and Joint Selling 2004

Buying Power of Multiproduct Retailers 1998

See also

OECD best practice roundtables on competition

Fighting bid rigging in public procurement

More OECD work on competition 


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