Antitrust Agreements Between Competitors

Where vertical agreements are concluded between competitors, the key question is whether the agreement is still a horizontal element. For example, an agreement between two manufacturers of a given product, in which the second producer agrees to market on behalf of the first manufacturer, is strictly not at the same level of the supply chain (i.e. it involves the provision of “vertical” distribution services to a manufacturer). However, given the competitive relationship between the two parties in the upstream manufacturing market, it will be considered a horizontal agreement. Therefore, even “vertical” agreements between competitors will, in most cases, be considered horizontal cooperation. These factsheets provide more details on the types of transactions with competitors that may give rise to a cartel and abuse of dominance investigation. .