21 January 2021 - The globalised and digitalised economy has created a highly interconnected world that has increased cross-border competition issues. The significant growth in the number of competition authorities and the increasing willingness of competition authorities, both young and mature, to engage in cross border cases has also driven this increase. For effective and efficient enforcement of competition law in a globalised economy, national competition authorities must have the ability to co-operate with each other on these cross-border matters, in order to realise the economic and welfare goals of a sound competition policy.
The OECD and the International Competition Network (ICN) share a mission to promote international co-operation between competition authorities. Both have worked for many years to improve the resources, frameworks and opportunities required for effective collaboration.
This joint OECD/ICN Report outlines key aspects of the current state of international enforcement co-operation between competition authorities. It builds on a 2012 survey by the two organisations that resulted in two separate reports, one from the OECD and one from the ICN. The report contains:
a description of the drivers of international enforcement co-operation
a high-level review of main OECD and ICN initiatives to support international enforcement co-operation
the results and analysis of the survey conducted of OECD and ICN members in 2019
The key findings regarding the past and current status of international enforcement co-operation are:
there has been an overall increase in international enforcement co operation across all enforcement areas.
authorities use various legal bases for enforcement co-operation, although there are some long-standing legal barriers to effective international enforcement co-operation.
authorities derive significant benefits from international enforcement co-operation, regardless of their respective size and level of maturity.
enforcement co-operation within regions (including through specific regional arrangements) is one of the most significant and successful types of co-operation for authorities, including for those outside highly developed and mature regional enforcement co-operation arrangements.
key challenges and limitations to effective enforcement co-operation remain. While some are an inherent and ongoing part of engaging in international enforcement co-operation (such as managing limited resources), others could potentially be resolved.
Key challenges for enforcement co-operation
The five key categories of challenges that limit international enforcement co-operation identified in the Report are:
legal limitations, especially relating to confidential information sharing, investigative assistance and enhanced co-operation
trust and reciprocity
practical issues (e.g language, time, difference etc.)
Proposed future areas of focus
The Report proposes future areas of focus and development for consideration by competition authorities, the OECD, the ICN and other interested parties to address the challenges identified. These include:
developing further enforcement co-operation work-products and networks
improving transparency and trust
providing policy and practical support for further developing effective regional enforcement co-operation
removing substantive and legal barriers to co-operation