The OFT works with its international counterparts to promote convergence and a consistent approach to tackling anti-competitive practices and protecting consumers' interests.
A key function of the OFT's international activity is the coordination of competition law enforcement. The OFT is a member of the European Competition Network (ECN), which ensures the efficient distribution of Article 101 and 102 cases and as well as the consistent application of EC competition rules. The OFT also ensures that European and national mergers are assessed by the best placed competition authority. Increased contact between competition agencies has improved cooperation on related cases across different EU Member States.
The OFT is also part of a pan European network of public consumer protection bodies introduced with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation (CPC) 2006/2004. It aims to facilitate cooperation between public authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws in cross-border cases. It ensures the quality and consistency of enforcement of consumer protection laws and the monitoring of the protection of consumers' economic interests by enabling national authorities to exchange information and cooperate with counterparts in other Member States as easily and seamlessly as with other authorities in their own country.
Identifying issues of common interest and coordinating efforts, as well as comparing results and findings, has a greater impact on tackling anti-competitive practices and protecting consumers against unfair trading at both the national and international levels rather than authorities going it alone.
The various international organisations that the OFT is actively engaged in, such as the International Competition Network (ICN), the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN), the OECD, the CPC and the ECN have greatly increased international collaboration, cooperation and contact between authorities with a common interest in sharing experiences and developing and exchanging best practice.
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