EU competition rules for horizontal agreements A guide to the evaluation of horizontal agreements (including the European Commission`s guidelines on horizontal cooperation and category exemption regulations on R and; D and Specialisation) January 2018 / EU competition rules for horizontal agreements Content 1. Introduction 1 2. Exchange of information 8 3. Research and development agreements 10 4. Production agreements 20 5. Sales contracts 24 6. Marketing agreements 25 7. Standardisation agreements and standard conditions 26 / EU competition rules for horizontal agreements 1 1. Introduction 1.1 Companies take permanent steps to remain competitive and bring their goods and services to market – production, sale and marketing of their products; Purchasing raw materials and inputs; and research and development of new products. Some companies do all of these functions themselves.
They can also cooperate with other companies in some of these areas. Horizontal cooperation agreements (i.e. agreements between companies operating at the same level of production or distribution on the market) can be commercially attractive to the companies concerned and allow them to share risks and reduce costs when they bring their products to market. Such trade agreements can also bring benefits to consumers in the form of more sophisticated products and wider choice. They can also contribute to the opening up of national markets and the dissemination of know-how throughout Europe. 1.2 This publication explains how EU competition rules apply to different forms of horizontal cooperation1. Specific sectoral rules on horizontal cooperation in certain economic sectors, such as. B that agriculture and transport, are not treated.
1.3 This publication consists of seven chapters: – Chapter 1 contains general observations on horizontal agreements; Chapter 2 focuses on the exchange of information; Chapter 3 deals with research and development agreements (R and D), including an analysis of the European Commission`s exemption to research and development; Chapter 4 concerns agreements for the production of goods or services, including agreements covered by the Commission`s category exemption; Chapter 5 deals with purchase agreements, including bulk purchases of raw materials and intermediate consumption; Chapter 6 includes marketing agreements related to distribution and marketing; Chapter 7 deals with standardization and standard conditions. 1 A general overview of EU competition rules and their application by the European Commission and national competition authorities in the publication Slaughter and May An overview of EU competition rules. The application of competition rules to « vertical agreements » (for example. B distribution agreements, purchase and supply agreements) is taken into account in the publication Slaughter and May EU competition rules for vertical agreements. When vertical agreements are concluded between competitors, their effects may be similar to horizontal agreements, so they must be evaluated according to the principles set out in this publication. See also the publication Slaughter and May EU competition rules for the granting of intellectual property licences. 2 EU competition rules for horizontal agreements / Commission policy in the area of horizontal cooperation 1.4 The Commission`s horizontal guidelines confirm that each case must be examined in its economic context, taking into account (a) the nature of the agreement, (b) the combined market power of the parties and c) other structural factors (2).