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1) an arrangement among supposedly independent corporations or national monopolies in the same industrial or resource development field organized to control distribution, set prices, reduce competition, and sometimes share technical expertise. often the participants are multinational corporations which operate across numerous borders and have little or no loyalty to any home country, and great loyalty to profits. the most prominent cartel is opec (organization of petroleum exporting countries), which represents all of the oil producing countries in the middle east, north africa and venezuela. many cartels operate behind a veil of secrecy, particularly since under american antitrust laws (the sherman and clayton acts) they are illegal. 2) a criminal syndicate like the international drug cartel headquartered in colombia.

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