ANDREY TSYGANOV: EXCHANGING CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION SHOULD BE BASED ON AGREEMENTS
FAS presented amendments to the UN Set on Competition and an updated version of the Toolkit on International Cooperation of Competition Authorities on Combating Restrictive Business Practices
On 24 September 2018, the programme of the Russian Competition Week included a meeting of co-sponsors of the Toolkit on International Cooperation of Competition Authorities on Combating Restrictive Business Practices, drafted on the UNCTAD platform.
Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov explained that in 2017 at the 16th session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts, Head of FAS Igor Artemiev presented Toolkit elaborated by FAS Russia. At the 17th session of IGE UNCTAD in July 2018, a report was presented on the work of UNCTAD Discussion Group on International Cooperation, as well as discussing further efforts in this field. FAS and 20 co-sponsors were in favour of continuing work on the draft Toolkit. The idea was supported by several countries that are not co-sponsors.
In May 2018, preparing for a meeting of UNCTAD Discussion Group on International Cooperation, proposals of Mexico Competition Authority on developing international cooperation were disseminated by UNCTAD.
At the 17th session of IGE UNCTAD, a decision was made to find a consensus between Russian and Mexican proposals.
FAS drafted a consensus proposals to modernize the UN Set on Competition based on Russian and Mexican proposals, in particular, taking into consideration the need to strengthen international cooperation on the global sites.
The consensus proposal is draft Amendments to the UN Set on Competition and the updated Toolkit, which can become an integral part of the Set. The proposal was presented by Deputy Head of FAS Department for International Economic Cooperation, Anna Pozdnyakova.
According to FAS representative, the consensus proposal is draft amendments to the UN Set on Competition and a refined Toolkit based on comments form 12 competition authorities.
The updated Toolkit has a list of mechanisms for international cooperation, available for competition authorities to counter restrictive business practices, based on the best world practices as well as OECD and ICN standards.
Amendments are proposed to be made to Section F “International Measures” and Section G “International Institutional Mechanisms” as well as include the Toolkit as an integral part of the Set.
The amendments reinforce the importance of developing international and regional cooperation, formalize the new powers of UNCTAD Secretariat and extend the mandate of IGE UNCTAD.
“Effectively the document is a code of the best practices in investigating particular cases”, said Anna Pozdnyakova.
“I’d like to draw your attention that the code of best practices is what the international competition authorities have already done get an insight in the motives and the necessity of international cooperation to understand the difficulties of the processes and see what areas of international cooperation are the key for the modern stage of economic development. We believe that sharing such practices is a necessary stage in developing competitive economies in different countries”, stated Andrey Tsyganov.
He added: “The Toolkit is voluntary; adopting it does not require mandatory ratification or changes to the national legislation”.
The most acute issue in cooperation between competition authorities in law enforcement, according to Andrey Tsyganov, is exchanging confidential information. FAS proposes to exchange such information between competition authorities on a case-by-case basis and on the basis of bilateral and regional agreements on cooperation.
“When the document is of such level as the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices, there is no need and no possibility to document in detail the process of exchanging confidential information. In our opinion, exchanging such information should be based on bilateral and multilateral cooperation. We suggest that this approach should be included in the document that we are now discussing”, concluded Deputy Head of FAS.
Anna Pozdnyakova highlighted FAS proposals on the further work schedule of UNCTAD Discussion Group.
Representatives of competition authorities from different countries, present at the meeting, supported proposals and the schedule of work.
Head of FAS Department for International Economic Cooperation, Lesya Davydova, asked competition authorities to consider FAS proposal and submit their comments and proposals to FAS and UNCTAD Secretariat to be analyzed at the next session of the Discussion Group.
The participants also heard a report of Irina Knyazeva on “Statistical characteristics of implementing the Toolkit on International Cooperation of Competition Authorities on Combating Restrictive Business Practices” and discussed further work schedule of UNCTAD Discussion Group on International Cooperation.