Formal cooperation

Formal cooperation is generally the most durable form of cooperation. It’s usually governed by binding treaty-level agreements or formal arrangements, and reflected in domestic law.

But formal cooperation can reduce each country’s ability to determine its own policies and regulatory settings by locking in those arrangements.

Types of formal cooperation include:

  • Enforcement cooperation
  • Mutual recognition
  • Harmonisation
  • Joint institutions
In this section

Enforcement cooperation

Global flows of goods, services, information, investment and people continue to grow. Enforcement cooperation can help to more effectively regulate these cross-border flows.

Mutual recognition

Mutual recognition describes the situation where 2 (or more) countries agree to accept and recognise regulatory outcomes or steps from each other’s regimes.


Harmonisation is when countries agree to adopt the same (or substantially the same) regulation, standards or policy settings.

Joint institutions

This is a step beyond harmonisation per se, where two or more economies jointly establish and own or govern an institution that provides regulatory functions on behalf of all the participating economies.