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Parallel Enforcement of Global Cartels:

Facts and Figures

Pieter J.F. Huizing


Keywords: global cartels, international cartel enforcement, cartel fines, parallel enforcement, inter-agency coordination

The history of active enforcement of cartels having a worldwide scope does not go back much further than twenty-five years. But a remarkable development has taken place within this relatively short timeframe. This article aims to provide quantitative insight into the changing nature of global cartel enforcement. It identifies 41 global cartels which were subject to corporate fines and which were discovered between 1990 and 2018. An analysis of the sanctioning of these cartels shows that more and more authorities are pursuing global cartels, often in parallel. The Auto parts, Maritime car carriers and Air cargo cartels for example were each subject to fines in ten or more different jurisdictions. The proliferation of authorities pursuing global cartels has contributed to the dramatic rise of the overall level of fines imposed for global cartel conduct. There are now nine global cartels for which penalties exceeding $1 billion have been imposed. In view of the increasingly crowded enforcement community, one would expect to see greater levels of inter-agency coordination in respect of not just the investigation but also the punishment of global cartels. However, attempts to coordinate the outcome of proceedings in order to reach an overall proportionate fine still appear to be both ad hoc and rare.
Keywords: global cartels; international cartel enforcement; cartel fines; parallel enforcement; inter-agency coordination

Pieter J.F. Huizing, PhD student at Leiden University and senior associate at the competition department of Allen & Overy LLP, Amsterdam office. The author is grateful for the support and comments provided by Professor John Connor as well as the comments provided as part of the peer review process of CoRe on an earlier version of this article. For correspondence: <>.


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