Unlike other cartels, export cartels are legal in virtually all legal systems, despite their adverse effects on the relevant markets.  A cartel is a group of independent operators who cooperate to improve their profits and dominate the market. Cartels are usually associations in the same industry and are therefore an alliance of rivals. Most jurisdictions consider this to be anti-competitive behaviour. Agreements include price agreements, supply manipulation and production cuts. The doctrine of economics that analyzes cartels is cartel theory. Cartels are different from other forms of collusion or anti-competitive organization, such as mergers between companies. (Liberal) economic conditions dominated Europe and North America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Around 1870, cartels occurred for the first time in sectors that were once in market economy conditions.  Although there are cartels in all economically developed countries, cartel activities in Central Europe have been at the heart of the activities. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary have been called “cartel countries”.  Cartels were also widely used in the United States during the period of brigands and industrial trusts.
 Since 2012, the OECD has launched a database of around 200 references to global security and security cartels in some fifty countries. When setting prices, two or more companies agree on the prices they charge in order to avoid having to compete with each other. Price-fixing is not limited to agreements between competitors which set a specific price for goods or services – it also includes competitors who undertake to fix part of a price or to fix the price according to an agreed formula. Cartels have existed since ancient times.  The corporations of the European Middle Ages, associations of craftsmen or traders of the same industry, were considered to be cartels.  Closely organized sales agreements in late medieval mining, such as the salt syndicate of 1301 in France and Naples or the Alaun Cartel of 1470 between the ecclesiastical state and Naples.  The two unions had common distribution organisations for total production, the Societas Communis Vendicionis . .