Page 33 3— Bilateral Cooperation Agreements Introduction International cooperation among competition authorities is one possible way to improve effective enforcement of competition law in international markets. A number of countries have formalized their cooperation in bilateral competition cooperation agreements. (See Table 3.1 for a selective list of bilateral competition cooperation agreements. 1 ) The United States leads the call for increased bilateral agreements with an ambitious programme of competition cooperation. The US commitment to cooperation is shown both by agreements in place and by the passing of legislation specifically enabling the US to enter into antitrust cooperation treaties.2 The OECD recommends that 'closer cooperation between Member countries is needed to deal effectively with the anticompetitive practices operated by enterprises situated in Member countries' (OECD, 1995). The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate bilateral competition cooperation agreements currently in place. It first summarizes the main provisions that are being incorporated into bilateral agreements. The second section makes observations about the bilateral agreements in practice. In the third section bilateral cooperation agreements are evaluated, and the advantages and concerns about the bilateral cooperation approach are outlined. Finally, several issues are raised that need to be addressed if bilateral competition cooperation agreements are to be an important multinational option. Key Provisions of Bilateral Agreements There exist today several bilateral cooperation agreements between competition authorities (see Table 3.1). Traditionally they have taken the form of a memorandum of understanding or an international agreement. Recently, some have been in the form of...
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