18-11-2020 | 10:50

The meeting of BRICS Coordination Committee on Antimonopoly Policy was held in a webinar format on the 12th November. 

Lesya Davydova, The Head of the Department for International Economic Cooperation of the FAS Russia performed as the moderator of the meeting and pointed out that the BRICS Coordination Committee on Antimonopoly Policy meetings have been held since 2016, and such meetings have already become an integral part of cooperation between the BRICS competition authorities.

The participants discussed the decisions reached by the Heads of competition authorities in July 2020 and talked about plans for the next year.

“I would like to thank everyone for their active involvement in our joint work and continuous cooperation which allowed us to achieve great success and maintain the pace of cooperation at a high level”, – Lesya Davydova emphasized at the beginning of her speech.

Andrey Tsarikovsky, the State Secretary - Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, spoke on behalf of the Russian presidency in the BRICS association.

Seven issues were brought up on the agenda of the meeting. First of all, the participants talked about the development of cooperation between the BRICS competition authorities and the existing formats of joint work. Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, reported on this in detail.

Andrey Tsyganov drew the attention of the BRICS colleagues to the need for harmonizing the ways of working together. He proposed to change the name of the “The Contact Group on Cartels” into “The Working Group on Cartels”.

“It is worth noting that the work of “The Contact Group” doesn’t differ much from that which we carry out within the framework of the Working Groups but such a new name isn’t established in the Memorandum”, – the representative of the FAS Russia explained. 

The idea of renaming proposed by the FAS Russia was unanimously approved by the BRICS member countries.

“At the meeting held in July a Joint Statement of the Heads of Competition Authorities was adopted to consolidate efforts in the fight against the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19. This once again confirmed our intentions to cooperate tightly to ensure immediate competitive countermeasures to overcome the social and economic consequences of the pandemic”, – Andrey Tsyganov outlined. 

The speaker also said that the activity of the BRICS International Competition Law and Policy Center is provided under the order of the Government of the Russian Federation and it will help to provide expert and scientific support to the competition authorities of the participating countries.

Pursuing the discussion the participants highlighted the results of the practical work of the competitive authorities in the field of competition legislation enforcement.

 “Despite the pandemic we regularly interact within the framework of global mergers in the light of economic concentration, we continue to develop joint positions on international platforms. I consider it important to continue this work on the UNCTAD platform. Thanks to the support including our BRICS colleagues the initiative of the FAS Russia on combating cross-border cartels was adopted”, – added Andrey Tsyganov.

Lesya Davydova, in her turn, spoke on the results of the activities of the BRICS Working Groups for the Research of Competition Issues in socially significant markets. She noted that currently four following Working Groups exist: the Working Group in Pharmaceutical Markets which is co-chaired by Russia and the People's Republic of China; the Working Group in Food Markets chaired by South Africa; the Working Group in Digital Markets co-chaired by Brazil and Russia; the Working Group in Automotive Markets co-chaired by India and South Africa. 

Considering the prospects for the activities of the BRICS competition authorities in the fight against cartels was the fourth item on the agenda of the meeting. Vladimir Kachalin, the Deputy Head of the International Economic Cooperation Department, spoke on the new initiative to summarize leniency programs in the BRICS countries.

“Leniency is the most effective tool of revealing cross-border cartels and collecting evidence of their illegal activities. The possibility of being a leniency subject in several jurisdictions is the most crucial incentive for applying for it from the point of view of a cross-border cartel member. It is also in the interests of competitive authorities of these countries which will be able to suppress cartel behavior. This is the aim of the project called “Leniency program in the BRICS countries: generalization of practices and recommendations on their application”. We consider a joint document created by competition authorities, containing an analysis of legal regimes regarding leniency, generalization of national practices of receiving leniency and recommendations for their approximation to the extent possible in the existing legal framework taking into account the peculiarities of the national legislation of the countries as the result of our coordinated work”, – mentioned Vladimir Kachalin.

Discussing the results of the 8th UN Competition Conference where the BRICS countries took an active part formed a separate issue of the agenda.

“Due to the enormous support the issue of combating cross-border cartels was included in the UNCTAD working plan. We demonstrated that the BRICS competition authorities are now actively creating the international competition agenda and successfully and promptly form a consolidated position on key issues of competition law enforcement which is then accepted by the whole world. I hope that BRICS competition authorities will take an active part in Working Group on Cross-Border Cartels. And the creation of a coherent and harmonious system of international cooperation will be its product. Competition authorities can be the drivers given our huge experience in the field of suppressing cross-border practices”, – concluded the Deputy Head of the FAS Russia.

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