Opportunity to improve draft EU Horizontal Agreements Guidelines, says The Cooperatition Incubator

The Cooperatition Incubator has set out five recommendations for improvements to the draft EU Horizontal Agreements Guidelines 2010 in a response to the European Commission consultation.

We welcome the draft EU Horizontal Agreements Guidelines 2010, which is much clearer than the 2001 guidance.  Our response focuses on the “standardisation agreements” guidance (pgs 66-82) and concludes with five recommendations:

1)      The need to include a worked example around a supply chain social voluntary standard, perhaps labour-related, where additional employment costs are passed on to the consumer;

2)      The need to include additional, contrasting, worked environmental examples where increased production costs to deliver qualitative benefits may be passed on to the end consumer;

3)      The need to include best practice guidance and/or examples on what parties to discussions around a potential voluntary agreement should consider “general and aggregated” versus “specific or sensitive” information;

4)      The need to include information on where in EU nations’ competition authorities groups of companies seeking to form voluntary agreements can get advice, such as the unit responsible for ‘Short-form Opinions’ in the UK OFT;

5)      Consideration needs to be given to how the European Commission encourages national competition authorities (and departments for business) to issue guidance that compliments, rather than undermines EU guidance.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Competition have raised many similar points to The Cooperatition Incubator in their submission to the EU.

Our submission is also published on the European Commission website.

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