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34 Cartel and monopoly policy Hugues Bouthinon-Dumas and Frédéric Marty 34.1 INTRODUCTION Firm strategies cannot be analysed without taking into consideration the legal framework that governs the relationships between economic agents, especially competition law. As a consequence, firms have to manoeuvre through a complex universe, taking account of both the rules of the economic game and the legal ones. Our purpose is to analyse the legal treatment of anticompetitive practices (agreements and concerted practices that restrict competition and abuse of a dominant position), which are at the heart of modern competition law (in the American context generally referred to as ‘antitrust law’ and in the European one as ‘competition law’). However, we must keep in mind that competition law also covers the control of vertical practices, merger policy (cf. Chapter 28 in this volume), control of state aids and, in some countries, the prohibition of unfair competition. Considering competition goals is essential for understanding enforcement of competition law. Even if the wording of the general competition rules seems to be fairly similar, the consequences of competition law may vary considerably among countries (and across time periods), revealing differences in their underlying principles and purposes. Therefore, it is essential to identify the intentions of the law-makers and the priorities of competition authorities. Competition policies and decisional practices are closely dependent on various and sometimes conflicting views related to what competition should be and how firms should develop and interact. This chapter is focused on the examples of the United...
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