"Why the Antimonopoly Service is not an antimonopoly service”
That was the title of the lecture given by Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia), Igor Artemiev to students of St Petersburg State University on 8 September 2017.
He started his lecture with some historic references: “A definition of cartels was given in the Russian Empire as far back as in 1845 under Nikolas I in the Penal Code. The punishment for collusion of merchants on the market was 8 months of imprisonment. The law was in force and there are records of such investigations and punishments”.
“The Federal Antimonopoly Service was formed in 2004 and its first goal was reforming the legislative framework. Four “antimonopoly packages of laws” were adopted, as a result the regulatory environment in Russia improved greatly. OECD acknowledged that it meets the best world standards”, stated Igor Artemiev.
Head of the Antimonopoly Service highlighted the most widespread violations of the antimonopoly law, that FAS most frequently faces in its practice: abusing dominance and bid-ridding.
He also talked about economic digitalization and challenges to the antimonopoly bodies of different countries regarding this problem. Currently it is one of the key issues for discussion in terms of international cooperation. It will also be covered at the Competition Week in Veliky Novgorod, where representatives of the antimonopoly authorities from more than 30 countries will get together”, pointed out Igor Artemiev.
Head of FAS also discussed tariff regulation. In his view, the Law “On natural monopolies” has long been obsolete, and it’s time to give a new definition of natural monopoly. He explained: “We assume that tern “natural monopolies” can be used only for those entities that have linear extended network facilities. That is, not the entire “Gazprom” but only its pipe; not electric networks with all accompanying communications but only the network themselves; and this is the situation in all fields”. According to the Head of the antimonopoly body, modernizing the law will give incentives for development in all segments and allow regulating tariffs where competition is already sufficiently developed, “putting everything in the proper way”.
Visiting St Petersburg, the Head of FAS also had a meeting with University Rector, Nicolai Kropachev, and took part in the opening of the Department of Theory and Practice of Antimonopoly Regulation at St Petersburg State University.