29-06-2020 | 11:06

Representatives of the agency discussed measures at the peak of a new coronavirus infection pandemic

Online conference "Antimonopoly law: new challenges of the pandemic" was held by and the FAS Russia on June 19. At the event representatives of the agency and antimonopoly experts discussed measures taken by the Federal Antimonopoly Service to support competition and reduce excessive antimonopoly regulation in the context of the pandemic, the most notable cases in the digital markets, crisis cartels and other topical issues.

"We have areas that were forced to suspend their economic activities, all their activity was reduced to zero. In such circumstances, any government regulation seems excessive. There are areas that continued to operate as usual (essential goods, food), they also had their own characteristics: any signals of price increasing caused a resonance that would not be possible under normal circumstances. At the same time, there were areas that could not cope with the demand that arose – masks and medicines," said Sergey Puzyrevskiy, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia.

To reduce the burden on business, the Government of the Russian Federation banned scheduled inspections except in cases that pose a threat to the life and health of citizens, and only unscheduled inspections were left in extreme situations.

"During this period, we actively used certain antimonopoly mechanisms of quick response: admonitions and warnings, which in some cases had a positive effect. We have increased the number of them, and due to this fact, we have achieved either a reduction in prices or a refusal to increase them. These mechanisms extend not only to abuse of a dominant position, but also to unfair competition, and perhaps will be applied in other cases as well. Warnings and admonitions help when the result is needed "here and now" the speaker said.

Artem Molchanov, Head of the Legal Department of the FAS Russia, reported on the work on the National Competition Development Plan for 2021-2025 and added that although the FAS Russia began preparing the document before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it is impossible not to take into account its impact on the economy in the National Plan.

"Reducing the administrative burden, operational measures, and financial support for enterprise blocks is like a medicine that the economy needs. Crisis is a disease that should be cured. The National Plan for the next period is necessary as a strategic policy, like a vaccine to develop long-term immunity," Artem Molchanov drew an analogy.

According to him, there will be several main accents in the National Competition Development Plan for the next period. This is primarily the development and support of small and medium-sized businesses (stability of the tax and economic burden, economic relations). Predetermined working conditions will allow companies to develop sustainably.

Secondly, it is necessary to provide advantages for small and medium-sized businesses in the acquisition of resources, natural resources, and state property (on lease or privatization terms), since these conditions are far from the requirements of non-discriminatory principles.

Besides, digitalization of all areas of activity is necessary, as market relations are developing.

"The world has changed today because of the problems we have faced in recent months. We see a clear redistribution and influence of market power. We understand that, for example, tariff regulation could not be based on paper documents, it should be based on mathematical models and new solutions. After the crisis the question will arise – what does this new reality like, where are we going to?" in conclusion, Artem Molchanov asked a rhetorical question.

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