Instruments of cooperation

Instruments of cooperation

Agreements with third countries and other instruments of cooperation

The EU has concluded numerous agreements with third countries which lay down provisions on cooperation if the EU enforcement activities affect important interests of these countries. The provisions vary largely, depending on the type of agreement (notification obligations, cooperation etc.) 1 .

More about Instruments of cooperation

Specific cooperation provisions have to be followed when the Commission applies the competition rules of the EEA Agreement (Agreement on the European Economic Area). Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement are virtually the same as Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU. The EEA Agreement is applicable if trade between one or more EU Member States and one or more EFTA Member States parties to the Agreement (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) is affected: Therefore, case handlers should always verify whether not only Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU but also the equivalent provisions of the EEA Agreement (Articles 53 and 54) are applicable. This will generally be the case if the “competition problem” concerns the whole of the EEA. When the Commission applies Articles 53 and 54 of the EEA Agreement the provisions on cooperation with the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) have to be followed (see section 2 hereunder).

More about the Subject

Dedicated cooperation agreements in competition matters have been concluded with the United States, Canada, Japan and Korea. Principle elements are mutual information, co-ordination of enforcement activities and exchange of non-confidential information. The agreements contain furthermore provisions on the possibility for one party to request the other to take enforcement action (positive comity), and for one party to take into account the important interests of the other party in the course of its enforcement activities (traditional comity).

Other Considerations

The European Union has also concluded numerous Association, Economic Partnership and Free Trade Agreements, in particular the EuroMed Agreements (Morocco, Algeria) and with Latin American Countries (Chile, Mexico, Caribbean Community, Central America, Colombia and Peru). These agreements usually contain basic provisions on cooperation in competition matters.


A Customs Union Agreement is in place with Turkey.


Non-binding arrangements have been concluded with China, Brazil and Russia. As regards China, the “Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue” lay down provisions to exchange experiences and views on competition matters. A “Memorandum of Understanding” was signed with the competition agencies of Brazil establishing a framework for cooperation and exchange of information; a similar Memorandum has been signed with Russia.


OECD: Cooperation between the Commission and the competition authorities of other OECD member countries is carried out on the basis of a Recommendation 2 adopted by the OECD in 1995.


See Also


  • Information about Instruments of cooperation in the Antitrust Manual of Procedures for the application of Articles 101 and 102 TFEU (Internal DG Competition)


[Note 1]
See all provisions on international relations in the area of competition policy that are included in agreements between the EU and third countries or third country groupings at
[Note 2]
Recommendation of 27 and 28 July 1995 concerning cooperation between member countries on anti-competitive practices affecting international trade.

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