Igor Artemiev: the antimonopoly body shall play one of the most important roles in the future
“Mergers and Acquisitions in the digital realm, intellectual property rights for IT products: we often do not even understand which problems can emerge from monopolizing digital markets and possessing information about users”, said Head of FAS on 20 September 2017, at the extended FAS Collegium – an International Conference.
Discussing antimonopoly regulation against modern challenges, Igor Artemiev pointed out: “Digital economy touches the interests of the entire mankind, and under those conditions the competition authority shall play to a great extent the decisive role in establishing control over the new sphere without any damage to the progress”.
“It will require reviewing approaches to antimonopoly regulation, enforcement and the law”, he added. “For instance, at the first glance, if “Bayer” is acquired by “Monsanto”, there will be no dominant position. However, through big data the companies coordinate the entire plant growing life cycle. In such cases the market boundaries should be not be determined separately, this is a unified market where everything is interrelated”.
“FAS has got instructions from the Chairman of the Russian Government to amend the law in view of the need to regulate digital markets. Perhaps, it will be a new Chapter in the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” or something wider”, stated Head of FAS.
He also described antimonopoly cases against transnational companies such as “Google”, “Microsoft”, and “Apple”. “Certainly, a creator is always right but if a creator starts abusing its exclusive rights, antimonopoly remedies should apply”, pointed out Igor Artemiev and gave examples of a case against international pharmaceutical companies that suspended supplies of unique and very important medicinal drugs to Russia.
Head of FAS highlighted a trend of employing state-of-the-art technologies to breach the law, for example, in cartels: “We will definitely answer to those challenges and we endeavour to not lag behind in digitalization”.
He raised an issue of well-known incidents when the costs of goods or services depend on the previous search enquiries, user’s purchases or financial standing.
As a prospective area of FAS work, Igor Artemiev mentioned transition of all procurements and competitive bidding in the electronic form: “Even small municipalities will have to procure in the electronic form that leaves audit traces. It will be done in two months and then in 1- 1.5 years the entire programme will be implemented”.
Head of FAS described a successful example of economic “uberisation” – a joint project with “Russian Railways” when a freight consignee may pay electronically for the services and receive the nearest car: “It’s an excellent example when a big monopoly cuts down its costs and empty running using modern technologies and information systems”.
Head of FAS discussed the blockchain technology, which, in his, opinion, it makes sense to employ it for creating a database of vital and essential drugs so its will be easy to determine whether prices are fair. “Blockchain has no owners and it’s an excellent response to the challenges of the 21 century”, emphasized Igor Artemiev.
Summing up, Head of FAS stated: “The antimonopoly body shall play one of the most important roles in the near future. We will respond to the challenges of the modern time by adjusting the law and pricing algorithms. It is important for us that state-of-the-art technologies are not concealed behind tablets but belong to the entire world. All this should also be formed internationally. Using joint experience of competition authorities from all over the world, together we will succeed.”