Antitrust Compliance Guidelines

The World Cement Association is an international membership association representing cement and clinker manufacturers worldwide, and related companies such as equipment manufacturers.

It is the policy of the World Cement Association to govern its activities by the standards of the strictest and most developed antitrust principles, principally those of the United States and the European Union. The World Cement Association also acknowledges that multiple jurisdictions, in addition to the US and EU, have become increasingly vigorous with respect to antitrust enforcement.

The cement industry is high profile in the eyes of antitrust authorities. These are the generally perceived major areas of risk under Antitrust Laws: 

  • Price Fixing & Bid Rigging
  • Trade Association Meetings
  • Market Allocation 
  • Tying/Reciprocal Dealing
  • Boycotts
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

The purpose of these Guides is to ensure that the conduct of World Cement Association, its staff and its Members, does not raise antitrust issues in any relevant jurisdiction. Also, various antitrust authorities have recognised that a strong antitrust policy and compliance guidelines can serve as factors in determining whether to pursue investigations. Thus it is the obligation of each Member and of World Cement Association staff and committee members to be familiar with these Guides and to abide by them.

All MEMBERS, having subscribed to a declaration on election to the ASSOCIATION, have a duty to observe the requirements of the WCA Articles of Association and Rules and Code of Conduct in setting out the general standard of conduct to which all MEMBERS must adhere.

Extract from WCA Code of Conduct: 

“Every MEMBER agrees to abide in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the antitrust laws and shall not use membership of the ASSOCIATION or any Association meeting or event to circumvent or breach antitrust laws. Members will follow the Antitrust Compliance Guidelines issued by the ASSOCIATION.

A MEMBER shall at all times abide by and endeavour to secure the widest possible acceptance of these Rules of Conduct.

A MEMBER, in connection with work in a country other than their own, shall order their conduct according to these Rules of Conduct so far as they are applicable.

These Rules of Conduct apply to all grades of membership of The World Cement Association.”

To assure compliance with these Guides, antitrust Legal Counsel for World Cement Association attends Board and General Membership. Its Legal Counsel also attends Committee meetings when sensitive antitrust issues may be raised. World Cement Association staff members are responsible for antitrust compliance at World Cement Association meetings that Legal Counsel does not personally attend. Legal Counsel is available to staff and each Member to respond to any questions or concerns. No World Cement Association meetings or conferences are permitted without the presence of World Cement Association staff or Legal Counsel.

Antitrust Compliance is Important: 

Antitrust law is concerned with monopolisation and concerted activity (“conspiracies”) that substantially affect competition. Importantly, trade association activities are presumed to constitute concerted conduct and, where members are in competition to any degree, concerted conduct among competitors. Thus, World Cement Association, with a membership of the leading cement companies in the world, must be particularly antitrust sensitive. Because the activities of World Cement Association are evaluated as concerted conduct, conduct that is permissible for individual Members or independent consultants may not be permissible or advisable for World Cement Association as a trade association. This is the important antitrust legal distinction between concerted activity and unilateral conduct.

It is fundamental that none of the foregoing should deter membership in World Cement Association, or discourage Members from participation in trade association activities. The courts and antitrust enforcement authorities have recognised that legitimate trade association activities can promote competition and efficiency. Furthermore, they can provide industry and public benefits, such as ensuring safety and protecting the environment. In addition, trade association activities can create a better and more informed marketplace, permitting individual Members to determine what makes business sense for themselves, the industry and the public at large. In sum, trade associations can promote the exchange of ideas and vital market information that individual Members could not accomplish on their own.

The World Cement Association as a Voice for the International Cement Industry: 

One of the prime missions of World Cement Association is to inform its Members, governments, and the public on international developments and statistics relating to the cement industry. Trade associations routinely issue industry-relevant bulletins or newsletters. Importantly, given a significant industry issue, trade associations can serve as the "voice" of their industries by presenting position papers and testimony, and by petitioning and lobbying on their industries’ behalf before governmental bodies, antitrust agencies, and the public.

World Cement Association activities are legally presumed to constitute joint conduct among competitors. Such conduct is very different in legal terms from unilateral decisions made by individual Members based on legitimate information provided by World Cement Association. World Cement Association does not make “recommendations” or “suggestions” or “disguised inferences” to its Members on competitively sensitive topics. Rather, it serves to educate its Members and others on facts and statistics relating to the international cement industry. Individual Members make their own unilateral business decisions based on this information, or information from other sources they deem appropriate. Except as cleared by Legal Counsel, World Cement Association and its Members do not agree to take joint industry action on any competitively-sensitive issue.

Before addressing potential guideline violations, an important caveat is the misuse of legitimate trade association information and functions. Even the best of trade association conduct and intentions can be subverted. Thus, World Cement Association and its Legal Counsel must recognise that legal trade association activities may be viewed as a “disguise” or "front" for anticompetitive ancillary activities not consistent with the antitrust laws. For example, subject to specific guidelines established by Legal Counsel, World Cement Association may make industry forecasts. Such forecasts are generally global or multi-regional, and have little prospect for competitive abuse. However, antitrust authorities have cautioned that industry forecasts can be misused to implement or monitor cartel behavior. Thus, it is fundamental to World Cement Association antitrust policy that otherwise legal activities can never be used to mask or implement anticompetitive conduct.

World Cement Association works closely with Legal Counsel to create legal safeguards to any World Cement Association forecasts. No forecasts are permitted unless in accordance with these safeguards. World Cement Association’s safeguards include: the use of a third party or World Cement Association staff in creating such forecasts; limiting access to data; preserving the confidentiality of submitters; "homogenising" (aggregating) data such that the identity and information of submitters is not disclosed; and utilisation of publicly available information, such as that compiled by regional cement trade associations and industry consultant services.

Antitrust Sensitive Areas:

Theoretically many forms of otherwise neutral conduct could be used to implement a conspiracy to restrain trade. However, the major antitrust-sensitive area for trade associations is per se (no defence or justification) violations of the antitrust laws. These areas must be totally avoided and are subject to civil and criminal prosecution in the US, as well as competitor and consumer lawsuits, including class actions. Such conduct is deemed illegal in itself, and applies whether the perpetrants are large or small or, indeed, could realistically bring about the anticompetitive results.

These basic violations are agreements that, directly or indirectly, fix or artificially distort: (a) prices charged to customers, or any component of price (e.g., discounts or payment terms); (b) capacity; (c) production or output; (d) geographical or product markets; and (e) customers or classes of customers. As a precaution, World Cement Association follows these rules: (1) current or future cement prices are not discussed by Members at World Cement Association functions; and (2) any discussions of present or future capacity or production must be monitored or approved by Legal Counsel. These principles apply both at World Cement Association meetings and social events.

World Cement Association antitrust compliance guidelines