Notice 81 of the EC Treaty.The Act prohibits coordinated

Notice on Activities of Trade Associations and Compliance with Competition LawThis notice gives information and guidance to trade associations and their members regarding competition law.The Competition Authority has outlined situations where trade associations have coordinated the activities of its member firms with the result that competition between these firms is restricted.This notice is to inform the business community about the limits that competition law places on coordinated action by competitors.Anticompetitive coordination is more likely to occur when a sector is experiencing trading difficulties. Yet, the need for value-for-money in the supply of goods and services is at its greatest during these difficult economic times.The document then sets out the applicable provisions of competition law, in particular the prohibition on anticompetitive coordination outlined in the Competition Act 2002 and Article 81 of the EC Treaty.The Act prohibits coordinated conduct, whether by explicit agreement or indirect collusion between firms, or through a group such as a trade association, and cites examples where custodial sentences were imposed in such cases, indicating the need to ensure effective deterrence.The document then considers the concept of trade associations and professional bodies. Trade associations consist of individuals and firms with common interests, which join together to further their commercial goals. Typically, the principal function of a trade association is to provide services to its members, however trade associations also have political functions and shape industrial policy. Members of trade associations are businesses or self employed professionals, and each individual gives an undertaking to uphold both Irish and EC competition law.The document goes further and discusses the possible application of competition law to a variety of activities of trade associations, together with hypothetical examples, such as,Price fixing, Market allocation, Output quantities,Anticompetitive Agreement not to Discount,Anticompetitive Indirect Price Fixing,Anticompetitive Market Allocation,Collective boycott,The document concludes with how the Competition Authority deals with complaints, and provides  advice to consumers on how to correctly notify the Competition Authority of possible anticompetitive practices.  


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