Marketing agreements can lead to significant efficiencies. The efficiency gains to be considered in assessing compliance with a marketing agreement with the criteria under Article 101, paragraph 3, depend on the nature of the activity and the parties to the takeover. As a general rule, pricing cannot be justified unless it is essential for the integration of other marketing functions and this integration will result in considerable efficiency gains. Joint distribution can generate significant efficiency gains resulting from economies of scale or scale, especially for small producers. The main and most frequent types of anti-competitive horizontal agreements are price fixing, supply manipulation, market allocation/distribution and refusal of transactions (group boycott). These horizontal agreements generally have the form of an agreement, which is explained in a separate subcategory. Standardization agreements that do not restrict the competition sought must be analysed in their legal and economic context, given their real and likely effects on competition. In the absence of market power (110), a standardization agreement is not likely to have restrictive effects on competition. Therefore, restrictive effects are highly unlikely in a situation where there is effective competition between a number of voluntary standards. Two factors are particularly relevant in determining the centre of gravity of integrated cooperation: first, the starting point for cooperation and, second, the degree of integration of the various functions combined. Thus, the centre of gravity of a horizontal cooperation agreement, which includes both joint production of research and development and joint production of results, would generally be joint research and development, since joint production will only take place if joint research and development is successful. This means that the results of joint research and development are crucial for the resulting joint production. The assessment of the centre of gravity would be changed if, in all cases, the parties had participated in the joint production, independent of the R and Common, or if the agreement provided for full integration in the field of production and partial integration of certain research and development activities.
D. In this case, cooperation would focus on joint production. Whether potential competition problems that could lead to production agreements can arise in a particular case depends on the characteristics of the market in which the agreement takes place, as well as the nature and coverage of the cooperation market and the product that concerns it. These variables determine the likely effects of a production agreement on competition and hence the applicability of Article 101, paragraph 1. What represents “a sufficiently large part of the market” cannot be defined in an abstract way and depends on the concrete facts of each case and the nature of the exchange of information in question. However, when an exchange of information takes place within the framework of another type of horizontal cooperation agreement and does not go beyond what is necessary for its implementation, market coverage will not, as a general rule, be sufficient below the market share thresholds set out in the relevant chapter of these guidelines, category exemption regulation (66) or de minimis communication on the nature of the agreement in question for the exchange of information to have restrictive effects on competition. Article 101, paragraph 1, prohibits agreements with the purpose or effect of restricting competition.