Saturday, December 22, 2007
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
Ariel Ezrachi of the Faculty of Law at Oxford has written on European Cartel Enforcement and the Possible Implications for Japanese Companies.
ABSTRACT: Cartel activities, including, price fixing, market sharing, output limitation and bid rigging have adverse effects on the economy. By artificially limiting the competition that would normally prevail on the market, cartel members are shielded from the competitive pressures that would otherwise lead them to innovate, both in terms of product development and the introduction of more efficient production methods. Such practices hinder efficiency and ultimately result in artificial prices and reduced choice for consumers. In the long term, they lead to a loss of competitiveness and reduced employment opportunities. This paper explores the European competition law regime, its application to cartel activities, and more specifically its application in cases involving Japanese companies. It starts by looking at the substantive law and describing the nature of anticompetitive activities which may be caught under European Competition law. Following this, in what contains the main part of this paper, it considers the enforcement of competition law and the fight against cartels in Europe. Special attention is given to the European Leniency Programme and Notice on the Imposition of Fines. In addition the wider range of deterrents is considered to provide a comprehensive picture of cartel enforcement in Europe. Throughout the paper, references are made to the European enforcement regime's impact on foreign companies to illustrate the possible implications for Japanese companies. The paper concludes with examples of such past and current cases.