IGOR ARTEMIEV: BRICS IS A HUGE FORCE IN CREATING COMPETITIVE CONDITIONS
Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service summed up the results of cooperation between BRICS competition authorities and outlined the prospects of future collaboration
“We are recapping the results of our 10-year cooperation and I’d like to point out that BRICS is not just a group of five countries, it is 42% of the world population, 26% of the Earth territory, 1/3 of the world GDP, and 48% of the world consumption of goods, works and services. These are very big figures, we represent a huge force in creating competitive conditions on the global markets”, said Head of FAS Igor Artemiev at the opening ceremony of the VI BRICS Competition Conference at Digital Business Hub in Moscow.
Summarizing the results of joint efforts, Head of FAS reported that due to the Memorandum on Cooperation between BRICS competition authorities signed in St Petersburg in 2016, BRICS Coordination Committee on Antimonopoly Policy was formed as well as the Working Groups on pharmaceuticals, food products chains, the automotive industry and the digital sector.
He explained that “a historic event happened in St Petersburg that translated our cooperation into practice”.
For instance, the Working Group on pharmaceuticals carried out a collaborative comparative analysis of medicinal drug prices. The data obtained from BRICS countries helped reduce prices on expensive drugs in Russia considerably (-30%).
The Working Group on food products has come up with new approaches to considering mega-mergers in the seeds market. Close cooperation between BRICS competition authorities in the course of considering a global “Monsanto/Bayer” merger in the agro-technology sector enabled transfer of modern technologies, making them accessible and applicable in the Russian conditions, and non-discriminatory access to platform end-to-end solutions, data and knowledge on the seeds market.
“Many cross-border corporations drain resources from countries and then sell food products to the local population at bloated prices. We must not allow this”, emphasized Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.
The Working Group on the automotive industry researched unfair practices of car dealers and distributors.
“We have pushed changes on the car-service market. In particular, various technical codes were transferred to Russian workshops in order to develop after-sale service and give consumers a possibility to choose service companies”, informed the speaker.
The Working Group on the digital sector drafted reviews that covered the most interesting and important antimonopoly cases in this sphere as well as legislative changes and initiatives.
“Together we started searching answers to the challenges of digitalization and globalization: countering transnational cartels and analyzing global mergers in the modern conditions. Mergers often take place abroad and our coordinated efforts allow to set conditions that give a positive effect from such mergers to the population of our countries”, highlightedIgor Artemiev.
Around 30 large global mergers are expected on different markets * that require prior analysis with coordinating conditions in order to decrease damages for our countries after mergers are completed.
Head of FAS stressed that “interacting we are able to rebut global unfair practices”.
Competition authorities of many countries also analyze investigations of antimonopoly violations committed on the same markets by large transnational corporations.
For example, in 2015 FAS found that “Google Inc.” violated the antimonopoly law and fined it 438 million RUB; in 2017-2019 the European Commission held it liable in total for over 8.25 billion euro. In August 2019, the Competition Commission of India fined “Google” 16.5 million euro.
With support from dozens of countries, especially BRICS economies, the text of the Guidelines and procedures of international cooperation under Section F of the UN Competition Set is drafted and approved, including the Toolkit for international cooperation of competition authorities to counter cross-border violations of the competition rules. The agenda of 2020 UN Competition Conference includes countering transnational cartels.
“Together, we put forward this initiative to be included in the UNCTAD agenda. If adopted, we will be able to achieve impressive results”, stated Head of FAS.
A virtual BRICS Antimonopoly Centre is established. Today we suggest transforming it into face-to-face format.
Igor Artemiev underlined that “staff of our bodies, experts and scholars will be able to carry out collaborative analysis of cases, mergers and their conditions ion behalf of BRICS. We’d like to establish a face-to-face centre to prepare for mergers of great significance for global economic policy. We also suggest considering FAS Centre for Education and Methodology as a basis to form BRICS Centre to train BRICS competition specialists”.
Finally, Head of FAS thanked BRICS delegations for cooperation, and the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Moscow for support to the VI BRICS Competition Conference.
The VI BRICS Competition Conference (VI BRICS ICC) took place in Moscow on 16 - 19 September. Representatives of foreign competition authorities, academic community, lawyers, attended the event. More than 200 foreign delegates took part in VI BRICS ICC, which is the key event on competition policy enabling to discuss at the top level the state and competition policy and law in BRICS economies.
The participants and guests of the VI BRICS Competition Conference were welcomed by the president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation – Minister of Finances Anton Siluanov, and Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin.
* “Broadcom – Symantec” (software development, around US$ 10.7 billion), “Toyota – Suzuki” (autoimotive markets, Toyota plans to invest around 96 billion yens in Suzuki, while Suzuki intends to invest 48 96 billion yens in Toyota), “Elanco – Bayer” “Animal Health” (agricultural markets, US$7.6 billion, Elanco can become the second company in the world in disease preventing and treatment for pets and live-stock animals), “Philip Morris – Altria” (tobacco products market, if completed, the overall capitalization of the new company will be around US$ 210 billion), “Natura SA – Avon” (cosmetics, as a result the forth largest cosmetic company offering direct sales to consumers will be formed).