European Commission Horizontal Agreements

In order to achieve these efficiency gains in standardisation agreements, the information necessary for the application of the standard must be effectively available to those wishing to enter the market (126). Chapter 2 first sets out some general principles for assessing the exchange of information which apply to all types of horizontal cooperation agreements involving the exchange of information. The following chapters of these guidelines deal with a certain type of horizontal cooperation agreement. In each chapter, the analytical framework described in point 1.2 and the general principles for the exchange of information shall be applied to the type of cooperation. Marketing agreements can lead to restrictions of competition in several respects. First, and most obviously, marketing agreements can lead to price cartels. Joint production allows companies to reduce costs that they would otherwise have duplicated. They can also produce at a lower cost if cooperation allows them to increase production where marginal costs decrease with production, i.e. through economies of scale. Joint production can also help companies improve product quality by bringing together their complementary skills and know-how. Cooperation can also enable companies to increase the diversity of products that they would not have been able or would not have been able to afford otherwise.

While joint production allows parties to increase the number of different types of products, it can also save money by saving their volume. The main purpose of standardisation agreements is to define technical or qualitative requirements which may be met by current or future products, production processes, services or methods (95). Standardisation agreements can cover different topics, for example. B the standardisation of different qualities or sizes of a product or specific technical specifications in product or service markets where compatibility and interoperability with other products or systems are essential. The conditions for access to a given quality label or authorisation by a supervisory authority may also be considered as standards. Agreements establishing standards for the environmental performance of products or production processes are also covered by this Chapter. . . .