Recommendation concerning Effective Action against Hard Core Cartels



View the text of the Recommendation




Hard core cartels are anticompetitive agreements or practices between competitors that aim to fix and raise prices, restrict supply and divide or share markets, thereby causing substantial economic harm. They are the most egregious violations of competition law. Detection, investigation and prosecution of hard core cartel is a priority policy objective for the OECD, and an enforcement priority for competition authorities in the OECD area, and beyond. 

On 2 July 2019, the Council adopted the Recommendation concerning Effective Action against Hard Core Cartels on the proposal of the Competition Committee. The Recommendation replaces the 1998 Recommendation [OECD/LEGAL/0294] and reflects the most salient developments in cartel enforcement of the last 20 years, including amnesty/leniency programmes, proactive investigation tools and investigation powers, settlements, effective fines and private enforcement actions.

The Competition Committee will monitor the implementation of the Recommendation. It will collect statistics taking into account the OECD International Cartel Database that includes all known international private cartels.


The range and importance of developments in the enforcement against cartels over the last 20 years led the Competition Committee to conduct, in 2017, a survey on developments and trends in the fight against cartels.

In 2018, the Competition Committee approved the Secretariat report reviewing the implementation and relevance of the 1998 Recommendation and new developments since its adoption. The report shows that the fight against hard core cartels has been a priority of competition law enforcement, and concluded that 1998 Recommendation had to be updated. 


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