The Complexity of Cartel Enforcement in Times of Globalization of Competition Law

Frank Montag, Oct 14, 2011

On the twentieth anniversary of the signing of a Cooperation Agreement between the United States government and the European Commission (“EC”) to enhance the effective application of their respective competition laws, it is fitting to undertake a review of the continuing significance of the relationship between the European Union and the United States in the current context of ever greater “globalization” of competition law. Indeed, much has changed in the intervening two decades, both in terms of the nature and output of the EU/U.S. relationship and in terms of the backdrop created by the ever-tightening network of antitrust agencies around the world.

The EU/U.S. cooperative relationship has not always progressed smoothly. There is an inevitable amount of divergence in substantive law and policy but, by common consensus, the positive approach taken by both agencies has been a hallmark of the global competitive order for twenty years. This paper seeks to put this relationship in a contemporary context, highlighting how the globalization of competition law adds complexity to cartel enforcement, thereby rendering the ground for companies that are under investigation more challenging.

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