A cartel within the economy is a contract or a resolution that is made between two companies that remain independent or other players in the market in order to restrict competition.
Cartels refer either to the supply side or the demand side, whereby the aim of the cartels is to control the market with regard to prices or sales volumes and thus to achieve greater control of the market. The agreements between the individual cartel partners can be very diverse and varied.
A cartel agreement seals the merger of independent companies in writing with the aim of jointly influencing the market. Within the cartel agreement, all members are bound by the contractual agreements, but remain legally and economically independent. Usual cartel agreements seal both price cartels and production cartels or standard cartels.
Antitrust agreements are generally viewed critically because behind them an influence on the Market economy is suspected. Because cartel agreements can quickly develop to the detriment of consumers, they are strictly controlled and regulated by law.
The Cartel Office is a competition authority that has the task of state control of cartels. The Bundeskartellamt started its work in January 1958. The Cartel Office is assigned to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as an independent higher federal authority.