Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Association of undertakings

Trade associations consist of individuals and firms with common commercial interests, joining together to further their commercial or professional goals. The important role played by trade associations in modern economies is widely recognised. Their activities benefit their members – especially the smaller members – but they may also be beneficial in increasing the efficiency of the market.

Although their principal function is to provide services to their members, trade associations also have important ‘industrial policy’ and ‘political’ functions. Most trade associations take an active role in shaping the way their industry works. They promote product standards and best practices, and they define and promote standard terms and conditions of sale. They publish and enforce codes of ethics, and in some cases they formulate and enforce industry self-regulation. They issue recommendations to their members on a variety of commercial and non-commercial issues. Trade associations also promote, representing and protecting the interests of members on legislation, regulations, taxation and policy matters likely to affect them.

© OECD

Glossary