A gentlemen`s agreement is an informal agreement or transaction, often unwritten, which is supported only by the integrity of the other party to effectively comply with its terms. Such an agreement is generally informal, oral and not legally binding. In the worst case scenario, a gentlemen`s agreement can be entered into to practice anti-competitive practices such as pricing or trade quotas. Since a gentlemen`s agreement is tacit – which is not subject to the document as a binding legal treaty – it can be used to create and enforce illegal rules. Gentlemen`s agreements, because they are informal and often not written, do not have the same legal and regulatory protection as a formal treaty and are therefore more difficult to enforce. Despite their informal nature, the violation of a gentlemen`s agreement could have negative consequences on trade relations if a party decides not to keep its promise. A gentlemen`s agreement can also be described as a “gentleman`s agreement” and can be completed by a handshake or not. In 1890, the U.S. government imposed a ban on gentlemen`s agreements in trade and trade relations between nations. In some cases, these are gentlemen`s agreements in which Wall Street financiers, such as J.P. Morgan and his “House of Morgan,” would meet with the bureau to obtain prior authorization for mergers and acquisitions. One such example was the gentlemen`s agreement in which regulators and the president ignored the Sherman Antitrust Act, which allowed united States Steel Corp. to become the world`s first multi-billion-dollar company.
Gentlemen`s agreements have often been concluded in international trade and international relations, as well as in most industries. Gentlemen`s agreements were particularly prevalent at the birth of the industrial era and well beyond the first half of the 200th year, as regulations often delayed new business practices. It was found that such agreements were used, among other things, to control prices and limit competition in the steel, iron, water and tobacco industries. A gentleman`s agreement, which is rather a point of honour and etiquette, relies on the indulgence of two or more parties for the performance of pronounced or unspoken undertakings. Unlike a binding contract or a legal agreement, there is no legal remedy for violation of a gentlemen`s agreement. The end result may, in many cases, be higher cost or lower quality products for consumers. Worse, a gentlemen`s agreement can be used as a means of promoting discriminatory practices, as in a “network of old boys.” Gentlemen`s agreements can also be found in trade agreements and international relations. One example is the 1907 Gentlemen`s Agreement, in which the United States and the Japanese Empire addressed immigration from Japan and the mistreatment of Japanese immigrants to the United States. The agreement, which was never ratified by Congress, saw Japan stop issuing passports to people who wanted to immigrate to America to work.