Following globalisation and the opening up of national markets for foreign companies, anticompetitive cross-border activities become more and more frequent. However, competition authorities are still nationally organised. In order to prosecute anticompetitive cross-border activities efficiently, international cooperation between competition authorities is increasingly important.
The Competition Commission (COMCO) actively participates in different networks of competition authorities such as the Competition Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the International Competition Network (ICN). Due to the lack of a legal basis, these networks essentially focus on the exchange of knowledge and experience, but do not allow formal cooperation.
Moreover, bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements between competition authorities are ever more important. On 1 December 2014, the agreement between the Swiss Confederation and the European Union concerning cooperation on the application of their competition laws (CC 0.251.268.1) entered into force. The agreement enables the COMCO and the Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission to notify and coordinate enforcement activities and to exchange information. It also contains clear rules concerning compliance with the existing procedural guarantees of the concerned parties. Considering the degree of integration of the Swiss and the European economies, the agreement will lead to an efficient prosecution of anticompetitive cross-border activities and therefore to a better protection of competition (see also dispatch on the Agreement Switzerland-EU concerning cooperation on the application of their competition laws).
On 1 September 2023, the agreement between Switzerland and Germany concerning cooperation and coordination between the competition authorities (CC 0.251.136.1) entered into force.