TIME TO MODERNIZE APPROACHES TO ANTIMONOPOLY ACTIVITY
Andrey Tsyganov suggested that antimonopoly authorities of the CIS countries should start discussing strategic directions of activity to overcome the crisis
"Aftermath of the pandemic seriously distorts the conditions of competition, hampers the passage of "market signals", destroys the established chains of goods distribution, and leads to an increase in economic concentration. In these conditions, we must modernize approaches to our activities in a number of areas," concluded Andrey Tsyganov.
Deputy Head of the FAS Russia voiced his opinion on June 4, 2020 at the 51st Session of the Interstate Council for Antimonopoly Policy (ICAP). He told the participants of the meeting about notable events that have taken place in the Russian Federation in the field of antimonopoly policy, stressing that the economic development of Russia in the first half of 2020 was due largely to the epidemic situation.
"In the current conditions, the FAS Russia has a lot of work to do. The introduction of restrictive measures has stopped the spread of the virus. However, the economy faced both supply and demand constraints. Our operational headquarters and regional offices of the FAS Russia monitor prices for socially important products and goods on a daily basis, and respond to signals about shortage", said Andrey Tsyganov.
The Deputy Head of the FAS Russia informed the participants about the effective changes in the Antimonopoly legislation regarding the activities of unitary enterprises and the implementation of compliance, the implementation of the interagency anti-cartel program, and the progress in improving competition law, tariff regulation and public procurement.
In his speech, he also shared with colleagues the results of work on the draft National plan for development of competition in the Russian Federation for 2021-2025:
"The plan provides for reforming the legal regulation of natural monopolies, improving the quality of tariff regulation and improving antimonopoly regulation in the digital economy in Russia."
During the meeting, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia Anatoly Golomolzin reported on the results of the 37th Session of the Headquarters for Joint Investigations of the Violations of the Antimonopoly Legislation, during which participants discussed the work of antimonopoly authorities in the context of the pandemic.
"Within the framework of the Headquarters’ extensive agenda, we discussed the work of the CIS antimonopoly authorities in the context of the pandemic in three aspects: the current practice of applying antitrust legislation, legislation on tariff regulation, legislation on consumer’s protection, the socio-economic situation and the state of competition in the markets of socially important consumer products in the CIS-member states. Based on these discussions, proposals were prepared to develop joint measures to overcome the negative consequences for the economies of the CIS-member states with regard to the spread of the new COVID-19 coronavirus infection. Antimonopoly agencies of the CIS countries were not limited to measures of reactive nature. Proposals were prepared on the strategy of antimonopoly regulation in the CIS member states, which ensures the prevention of negative scenarios for the development of the economic situation owing to force majeure circumstances caused by the worsening of the epidemiological situation and other similar context," he said.
Head of the Headquarters Anatoly Golomolzin emphasized that on the results of the Session the Report on the markets of medical devices and the Review of the international transport market were approved. It was proposed to send them for further consideration in the framework of the procedures of the CIS governing bodies. They also approved approaches to analyzing the situation on the e-commerce market and joint initiatives to develop exchange trading. These issues will be the subject of joint work of specialists of the CIS antimonopoly authorities with participation of other authorities and interested organizations.
"All the proposals and initiatives of the Headquarters were approved at the ICAP Session, the high level of collaboration was noted, its focus on achieving practical results in ensuring competition, protecting the interests of businesses and consumers, supporting economic stability and cooperation between the CIS countries", - he added.
During discussions at the ICAP Session, Anatoly Golomolzin also noted that both national antimonopoly authorities and the Eurasian Economic Commission function in the CIS area.
"Issues of violation of antimonopoly legislation can be considered by national antimonopoly authorities, national authorities jointly with each other, as well as the Eurasian Economic Commission. The activities of antimonopoly authorities are becoming mutually dependent, so it is necessary to develop a policy of subsidiarity and proportionality in the relationship between national antimonopoly authorities and the Eurasian Commission. It has now become a common practice when, along with representatives of the CIS Executive Committee, representatives of the EEC participate in the events of the ICAP and the Headquarters. Vladimir Koltovich, the Chairman of the ICAP supported the proposals to organize consideration of the EEC initiatives at sessions of the Headquarters for joint investigations and the ICAP," Anatoly Golomolzin said in conclusion.
Member of the Board (Minister) for competition and antimonopoly regulation of the EEC Serik Zhumangarin made a report on the adverse tendencies observed in the EEA markets and the prospects for their impact on the CIS markets. He suggested promoting cooperation between the antimonopoly agencies of the CIS member States in order to improve the competitive situation in the Union's markets. In particular, it was proposed to expand the 5+1 format: the Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Uzbekistan received invitations for cooperation.
"We are not divided into "friend and foe". We have common goals, common tasks," Serik Zhumangarin concluded his report.
Representatives of antimonopoly agencies told about the main activities implemented since the last 50th Session of the ICAP, paying special attention to the work of antimonopoly authorities in the context of the pandemic.
Besides, participants heard a report on the state of competition in the commodity markets of medical devices, presented by the Head of the Department of social sphere and services of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART) of the Republic of Belarus Alesya Abramenko. The parties came to the conclusion that in the period of the pandemic, when many countries faced a shortage of essential medical equipment, research on the effectiveness of competition in the commodity markets of medical devices of the CIS member states becomes particularly relevant, which will continue.
At the end of the Session, participants discussed topics and materials proposed for development and possible submission to the Council of the Heads of the States, Council of the Heads of the Governments and the CIS Economic Council, and approved the agenda for the next meeting of the ICAP.
Deputy Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus Andrey Kartun, in turn, expressed gratitude to the competition agencies for their cooperation in resolving joint issues, as well as hope for holding the next meeting of the ICAP in person.
Representatives of antimonopoly agencies of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Uzbekistan, the Eurasian economic Commission, the CIS Executive Committee took part in the videoconference.
The Interstate Council on Antimonopoly Policy was established in December 1993. The Council called upon to coordinate the activities of the Commonwealth of Independent States on antimonopoly regulation, to promote the creation of conditions for development of fair competition and the harmonization of competition legislation within the CIS.