CHALLENGES TO GLOBAL DIGITAL ECONOMY ARE SIMILAR IN DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS
At an event in Brazil, FAS representatives described measures undertaken by FAS and an increasing synergy of cooperation with other BRICS competition authorities
On 31 July – 1 August 2019, Brazil Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) organized an International Conference – “Developing antimonopoly law in the epoch of digital technologies” in Brasilia (Brazil).
The event was opened with a panel discussion on BRICS digitalization, where representatives of antimonopoly bodies from all BRICS economies made reports on competition and digital economy. The session moderator was Alexandre Barreto de Souza, CADE President.
FAS experience in digital economy was outlined by Anna Atanasian, Deputy Head of International Information Communications Unit, Department of International Economic Cooperation.
“It’s a deepest error to think that work of antimonopoly bodies is reduced to countering monopolies. In fact, our principal role is to be one of the main initiator of the most serious reforms, be it social sphere, industry or business development. Ultimately, whatever the agency does, is directly related to how people in a country live, what is the level of their well-being”, started her speech Anna Atanasian.
The speaker pointed out that FAS is an independent federal executive body accountable to the Government of the Russian Federation, with extended functions. It works with the economy in general, in collaboration with other government bodies at both national and international levels.
FAS representative explained that “such extended powers do not always suffice to resolve new problems related to globalization and digitalization of the economy. The authorities at all levels should understand it and support competition development in the country as one of fundamental vectors for developing the economy in general”.
Anna Atanasian informed that control point for such economic development has become the Order of the President of the Russian Federation that approved 2018-2020 National Competition Development Plan and specifies that intensive efforts to support competition in Russia as a priority for all government bodies.
In accord with the Order, and in view of FAS enforcement practice with regard to large transnational corporations, the Federal Antimonopoly Service has undertaken numerous in-house and state-based measures facilitating adaptation to the digital economy.
“Apart from a large-scale package of amendments to the antimonopoly law – the “fifth antimonopoly package” – FAS formed a special Department for control over public and municipal information systems, and a Digital Investigations Unit at the Anti-Cartel Department. The antimonopoly body is developing automation of information interaction between the authorities and business under the frame of FAS Information-and-Technical Centre. Procurement is now fully transferred to the electronic form. Tariff regulation is being digitalized. FAS is also considering a possibility to accept and process merger petitions only in the digital format”, informed Anna Atanasian.
She emphasized that the challenges of the global digital economy are similar in different jurisdictions. In 2018, FAS initiated several incremental measures to reinforce the synergy with other competition authorities. Global mergers on hi-tech markets are in the focus of FAS attention.
“We took efforts to make decisions simultaneously with our foreign partners to avoid information asymmetry and contradictory conditions for the merger parties. Cooperation with other antimonopoly bodies helped us understand the nature of setting the conditions and orders, apply them to our national goals and issues, and save our resources to reconsider such conditions at the national level: we started applying new methodological approaches and unified the waiver exchange procedure”, summed up Anna Atanasian.
Apart from BRICS competition authorities, the Conference was also attended by representatives of the US Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission as well as reputable experts from the international academic community.