Anti-competitive agreements are agreements between firms that restrict competition between them. Such agreements are seen as harmful to the free market, as they can lead to higher prices and limited choice for consumers.

Examples of anti-competitive agreements include price fixing, bid rigging, market allocation, and exclusive dealings. Price fixing is where firms agree to set prices at a certain level, which can lead to higher prices for consumers. Bid rigging is where firms collude to manipulate the bidding process, leading to less competition and potentially higher prices for consumers. Market allocation is where firms agree to divide up markets between them, limiting competition. Exclusive dealings are where firms agree not to deal with certain competitors, reducing competition.

Such agreements are illegal in many countries, including the US and the EU. In the US, these types of agreements are prohibited by the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act. In the EU, anti-competitive agreements are regulated by Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The penalties for anti-competitive agreements can be severe, including fines, damages, and even imprisonment. In addition, firms can also face reputational damage, which can seriously affect their business.

It is important for businesses to be aware of the laws and regulations around anti-competitive agreements, and to take steps to ensure that they are not engaging in such practices. This includes implementing compliance programs, training employees on antitrust laws, and monitoring business practices to ensure that they are in compliance with the law.

In conclusion, anti-competitive agreements are agreements between firms that restrict competition and are harmful to the free market. Such practices are illegal in many countries and can lead to severe penalties. Businesses must be aware of the laws and regulations around anti-competitive agreements and take steps to ensure compliance.