The U.S./EC Antitrust Cooperation Agreement: Genesis, Innovation, and Early Implementation

James Rill, Oct 14, 2011

The antitrust agreement between the United States and the European Commission,  which has now passed its 20th birthday, constitutes a landmark achievement in international cooperation in the application of the parties’ competition laws. It has served as a model for subsequent bilateral agreements by both parties. The 1991 agreement was innovative in a number of respects and has served as a foundation for the effective cooperation between the U.S. and EC antitrust agencies and very likely provided the groundwork for increased convergence of antitrust enforcement principles between the parties.

This paper will examine some of the events leading up to the Agreement, its innovative provisions, and its early application. The progress of cooperation in antitrust enforcement between the United States and the European Union is a rich and continuing history, complete with many successes and a few bumps along the road. It is worthy of book-length recitation; here, the focus is the beginnings and early story of the Agreement and its efficacy.