Brussels: The EU’s top antitrust enforcer said Thursday that Europe should look into sharing evidence of companies’ illegal price-fixing with regulators in other regions, such as the United States.
The European Union’s competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said regulators investigating cartels and major business combinations have “frequent and intense” contact with the US, Canada and Japan on strategy and on individual cases.
She said it was regrettable that they could not currently share evidence allowing officials to take action against multinational companies’ misdeeds.
“The time has come to explore ways to enhance some of our bilateral agreements and to share such information among a small number of enforcers,” she said.
American and European agencies often follow each other in taking action against rivals companies suspected of breaking antitrust rules by limiting the supply or fixing the price of goods.
But they have taken very different paths on high-profile cases such as Microsoft’s monopoly abuse and General Electric’s 2001 takeover of Honeywell, abandoned after the EU rejected a deal the US had cleared.
Kroes defended EU moves to police companies based elsewhere that operate in Europe, the world’s largest consumer market, and EU efforts to export its antitrust model around the world, saying it was “no sin to encourage others to import its best features.”
“It is Europe which is encouraging others to dance to our tune,” she said in prepared comments distributed by her Brussels office for a speech she gave in Innsbruck, Austria.
EU officials have held talks with Russia and China about setting up their own antitrust frameworks and want to include state subsidy curbs into free trade pacts with South Korea and India.