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Cyril Hariton moderated the discussion.
Xavier Boutin highlighted that for the first time in the latest version of the Horizontal Guidelines the Commission has shared its views on information exchange by adding a new chapter on this subject. It recalls that information exchange has often been seen at European and national level, as having a negative impact on competition. Indeed, it almost automatically leads to the creation of a cartel and therefore to a situation that is considered to have anti-competitive effects. However, Xavier Boutin also points out that some information exchange activities can have pro-competitive effects. Regarding whether to apply the Horizontal Guidelines or the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation to the evaluation of information exchange, Xavier Boutin said that the only difference will be to try to assess whether the Block Exemption Regulation applies to your cooperation. If it does apply to your cooperation, it is one of those areas where the Commission can say that the cooperation in question is so different that the Block Exemption Regulation does not apply to the situation in question.