The European Commission and the Mexican Competition Authority (COFECE) agreed to intensify their cooperation on competition matters between the European Union (EU) and Mexico. The agreement, signed by European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and COFECE Chairwoman Alejandra Palacios on 4 June 2018, establishes a legal framework to increase their dialogue on competition policy issues and to share views and non-confidential information on individual cases. This agreement complements the competition chapter already included in the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Mexico, which includes rules and disciplines on antitrust, mergers and state aid.
In particular, the arrangement provides for the following:
- Exchange of information: Both authorities will exchange information on competition laws and policies, as well as on multilateral initiatives and advocacy efforts.
- Coordination of enforcement: Both competition authorities will cooperate closely when working on the same or related matters. This is of particular importance for example in merger assessment, where a merger can be subject to review in several jurisdictions.
- Referrals: The agreement includes the possibility for one of the two competition authorities to refer a case to the other, if it involves anti-competitive practices carried out in the latter's territory.
- Cooperation on technical matters, for instance through training or exchange of officials.
The main objective of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with competition authorities is to promote convergence of competition policy instruments and practices across jurisdictions, exchange views on broader policy and enforcement issues, and facilitate cooperation with competition authorities in other jurisdictions on enforcement activities. The European Commission has in the past already concluded bilateral cooperation arrangements with competition authorities from third countries, such as the United States and Canada, dedicated entirely to competition (the so-called "dedicated agreements"). In other cases, competition provisions are included as part of wider general agreements such as Free Trade Agreements, Partnership and Cooperation Agreements, Association Agreements, etc.