The Competition Law Observatory (CLO)

International Cooperation and Competition Enforcement: Brazilian and European Experiences from the Enforcers' Perspective, Edited by Vinicius Marques de Carvalho, Carlos Emmanuel Joppert Ragazzo and Paulo Burnier da Silveira, (Kluwer Law International, 2014), xxxv + 225 pp., Price: €120, ISBN: 9789041151452.

International cooperation in the field of competition law has become a crucial topic in recent years, thanks to the dramatic increase in the number of competition agencies and the multi-jurisdictional nature of many cartel and merger cases decided in recent years.

If such a phenomenon has been experienced initially by a narrow number of enforcement agencies, mainly between the European Commission (and the EU Member States’ competition authorities) and the US, it has now spread and many more countries and regions in the world are deeply concerned.

Edited by three eminent members of the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defence (CADE), the book under review looks at this phenomenon from the perspective of Brazilian and European enforcers. Particular attention is paid to the ongoing work of the International Competition Network (ICN), the European Cooperation Network (ECN), and CADE. Indeed, as Alexander Italianer (Director General for DG-Competition) affirms (at xxiv), international cooperation can be made more efficient in a context of greater convergence achieved at multilateral level. Similarly, Andreas Mundt (President of the German Bundeskartellamt and Chairman of the ICN) points out that the ICN “gives competition authorities a platform to build consensus and convergence towards sound competition policy principles across the global antitrust community” (xxv). In other words, as the editors explain (at xxv), “international cooperation has proven to be an extremely effective instrument for competition enforcement worldwide and should, thus, be strongly promoted”.

The subject matter of the book is addressed from a variety of angles. For example, in Chapter 1, there is a discussion on how the UK has worked bilaterally, addressing also the changes to the competition law system that took place in 2014 (the merger of the OFT and the Competition Commission) and how such changes may influence the UK’s role in international cooperation.

In Chapter 4 the authors offer an overview of recent developments in the ECN. They report, for example, on changes to structures of national competition authorities and case law concerning their institutional framework, such as VEBIC, decided by the Court of Justice (Case C-439/08) and Menarini, decided by the European Court of Human Rights (Application No. 43509/08). They also offer an interesting overview of the case law of the EU Courts on the ne bis in idem principle. In particular, looking at the Toshiba judgment (C-17/10), the authors come to the conclusion that the ruling can be read in the sense that “parallel action by two or more authorities in the ECN does not violate the principle of ne bis in idem“ (pag. 41).

In Chapter 10, the authors provide an overview of the recent Brazilian experience on cross-border merger remedies. Indeed, under the new competition law of 30 November 2011, CADE “is now able to discuss case analysis with its sister agencies around the world and even impose remedies in a coordinated manner” (pag. 115). However, the authors note that an obstacle may lay in monitoring the effectiveness of decisions, especially on remedies proposed by the companies.

In Chapter 14, the authors provide an overview of the international cartel cases presented before CADE, as well as a forward look on international cooperation and its benefits for competition enforcement.

In general, the essays put forward arguments to foster international cooperation and facilitate effective international cooperation to the benefit of member agencies, consumers, and economies worldwide. As such, the book is certainly a valuable addition to the debate on international cooperation with regard to the enforcement of competition law.

Reviewed July 2015
By Riccardo Sciaudone
Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Competition Law Observatory

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