Participating in a trade association or association of companies (where competitors meet) is generally permissible. Nonetheless, meetings or other activities in which competitors share information poses significant risks of violating competition laws. For example, in the context of any such meeting or activity, it is prohibited to share information concerning prices, discounts, rebates, conditions of supply, profit margins, cost structures, calculation practice vs. distribution practices, territories, customers, or new products. Despite these restrictions, companies are permitted to agree on industry standards, joint petitioning, representations to governments and similar topics.
Prohibition and care. Companies may not exchange competitively sensitive information with their competitors. If such information is exchanged at a trade association, a company should immediately leave the meeting and seek legal advice. A company’s participation in these associations or meetings must be monitored carefully and it is therefore desirable to set a clear agenda for every meeting and to take detailed minutes.