Antitrust Policies and Guidelines

Seien Sie sich im klaren, dass so wie in Deutschland und der EU auch in den USA sehr strenge (Verbots) Regelungen betreffend Wettbewerbsbeschränkender Vereinbarungen gibt; manch einem Unternehmer ist nicht bewußt, dass schon eine  mehr oder minder regelmäßige Zusammenkunft von Wettbewerbern zum Zwecke des Informationsaustausches (nicht einmal zum Zwecke der Preisabsprache)  einen Verstoß gegen Kartellrecht darstellen kann.  Verbände von Wettbewerbern / Trade Associations bergen naturgemäß dieses Risiko in sich.  Es ist daher angezeigt, entsprechende Richtliniene für die Zusammenarbeit aufzustellen, die auch nur den Anschein eines Kartells verhindern müssen. Beispiel einer Verbandes aus den USA /  Guidelines for Discussions at Association Meetings:

It is extremely important that association members understand that their conduct at association meetings is regulated by the provisions of the antitrust laws. A thoughtless violation of the antitrust laws by a few members could result in expensive, protracted litigation which could destroy the association and/or result in the prosecution of individual members. The most powerful federal statute, the Sherman Act, provides substantial penalties for violation of the antitrust laws. Individuals can be fined up to $100,000 and be imprisoned for up to three years for violations. Corporations can be fined up to $1,000,000. In addition, defendants found guilty of violating the Sherman Act are subject to treble damages.

Guidelines for Dicussions Between Competitors at Trade Associaiton Meetings

  1. Do not enter into any agreements with competitors regarding or affecting prices.
  2. Do not discuss you company’s current prices with competitors.
  3. Do not agree with competitors on pricing or profit levels.
  4. Do not agree with competitors to give or deny cash discounts or promotional allowances.
  5. Do not agree with competitors to give or deny credit to a specific customer, or to establish uniform credit terms.
  6. Do not agree with competitors to deal or not to deal with any customer or agree on the prices to be charged to a specific customer.
  7. Do not discuss allocation of markets.
  8. Do not enter into agreements with competitors concerning price quotations or bids.

What Can You Do?

  1. Discuss better ways to educate and provide meaningful information to association members about the industry.
  2. Discuss economic trends, business forecasts, and materials availability emphasizing that each company is free to use this information in the way it sees fit and should make its own business decisions.
  3. Provide a properly structured environment for the exchanging of credit information to protect association members against financial loss generated by bad credit risks.
  4. Discuss federal and state governmental actions and develop industry-wide lobbying efforts.
  5. Discuss technological advances and better ways to utilize them.
  6. Discuss ways to improve the public image of the industry.
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