International co-operation in competition


International co-operation is key to increasing competition in a globalised world

Globalisation, the digital economy, the proliferation of competition authorities and the increasing willingness of competition authorities, both young and mature, to engage in cross border cases has increased the number and scope of cross-border competition issues.

Co-operation between jurisdictions is needed to:

  • ensure efficient and effective enforcement of competition laws, and avoid unnecessary inconsistencies and duplication of effort;
  • develop and maintain trust and transparency between jurisdictions;
  • support and facilitate efficient and effective international business compliance with competition laws; and

  • improve and develop the techniques, tools and frameworks needed for effective international competition enforcement.

For 50 years, the OECD and its Competition Committee have taken a leading role in shaping the framework for international co-operation among competition agencies. Recommendations, best practices and policy roundtables have served not only as models and inspiration for national initiatives but also as drivers for promoting co-operation on a global scale. This work is also promoted through the OECD's Global Competition Relations, such as the Regional Competition Centres, Global Forum on Competition and other regional competition forums. Through these activities, along with its data collecting and analysing functions, the OECD can develop a better understanding of the current status of co-operation and promote the importance of co-operation to those competition authorities who are not yet deeply engaged in cross-border competition co-operation.

The OECD and its Competition Committee offer competition officials from developed and emerging economies a unique platform to monitor the state of international co-operation and to develop new solutions to increase the effectiveness of international co-operation. This work benefits from the support of a professional Secretariat and from the Organisation’s whole-of-government approach, taking advantage of expertise in other OECD committees and experience in international co-operation. 


OECD work on international co-operation

Since 2012, international co-operation has been one of the main areas of work of the OECD Competition Committee.

The OECD work on international co-operation contributes to improving co-operation for the benefits of enforcers, businesses and consumers by:

  • considering existing informal and formal enforcement co-operation by Member and non-Member agencies, using these to identify best practices, tools and possible areas for future development;
  • exploring and providing examples of models for co-operation, including an inventory of provisions for bilateral or multilateral co-operation agreements;  

  • exploring new and enhanced forms of co-operation that can help improve the efficiency and efficacy of investigations by multiple competition authorities; and

  • providing fora and mechanisms to improve trust and transparency between competition authorities and about their respective laws, policies and practices.


Key outputs

In 2022, to implement findings of the 2022 report and the 2021 OECD/ICN report, the OECD launched the Competition Enforcement Co-operation Database (CEC) which provides easily accessible information on the ability and legal requirements for international co-operation in 60 jurisdictions.

In 2022, a report on the implementation of the recommendation found that the Recommendation continues to be relevant, it has been widely disseminated and there are possible areas for further work. 

In 2021, the joint OECD and ICN report on international co-operation was published, which included the results of a 2019 survey of OECD and ICN members and outlined proposed areas for future work for both organisations. In the same year, the OECD updated the inventory of MOUs between competition agencies and the inventory of international agreements on competition

In 2016, an inventory of international co-operation MoUs (Memoranda of Understanding) between competition agencies was also published. Based on over 140 MoUs, the inventory lists examples of typical and atypical provisions that can be useful for the negotiation of MoUs. It is updated from time to time as new MoUs are provided to the OECD.

In 2015, the OECD and its Competition Committee built an inventory of international co-operation agreements on competition. These agreements are commonly used by competition authorities to strengthen the scope and degree of their collaboration, deepen their relationships and formally express their commitment to work together. It focused on 15 comprehensive government-to-government co-operation agreements.

The 2014 report “Challenges of International Co-operation in Competition Law Enforcement” was the first attempt to gather empirical evidence on the need for closer co-operation between competition enforcers. This report provided support to the negotiations of the OECD Recommendation on International Co-operation on Competition Investigations and Proceedings which was approved by the OECD Council on 16 September 2014.

In 2013, the results of an OECD-ICN survey on international competition enforcement co-operation were published and suggested ideas for future work in the area.




recommendation on international co-operation








2022 International Co-operation Implementation Report English cover

International Co-operation on Competition Investigations and Proceedings: Progress in implementing the 2014 OECD Recommendation



This page focuses on our discussion materials on international co-operation in competition. To find out more about our concrete international co-operation initiatives, access:

About Global relations

Hungary Regional Centre

Korea Regional Centre

Peru Regional Centre

Global Forum on Competition

Latin American and Caribbean Competition Forum


If you have questions, comments or would like further information regarding the OECD's work on international co-operation and competition, please contact:
See also

Recommendations and best practices

Recommendation on International Co-operation in Competition Investigations and Proceedings, 2014

Recommendation on Merger Review, 2005

Best Practices on Information Exchange, 2005

Recommendation on Hard Core Cartels, 2019

OECD discussions

Thinking out of the Competition Box: Enforcement Co-operation in Other Policy Areas, 2022

Workshop on Legal Models for International Enforcement Co-operation, 2021

Competition provisions in trade agreements, 2019

Access to the case file and protection of confidential information, 2019

Challenges and co-ordination of leniency programmes, 2018

Benefits and challenges of regional competition agreements, 2018

Treatment of legally privileged information in competition proceedings, 2018

Extraterritorial reach of competition remedies, 2017

Jurisdictional nexus in merger control regimes, 2016

Enhanced enforcement co-operation, 2014

Provisions for the exchange of confidential information between agencies without waiver, 2013

Limitations and Constraints to International Co-operation, 2012

Stocktaking exercise of the Competition Committee's past work on international co-operation, 2012

Improving International Co-operation in Cartel Investigations, 2012

Cross-Border Merger Control: Challenges for Developing and Emerging Economies, 2011

Positive Comity, 1999

Notification of Transnational Mergers, 1998 

The Whish-Wood Report, 1992  


Documents connexes


Also AvailableEgalement disponible(s)