THE FUTURE WORK OF THE BRICS INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION LAW AND POLICY CENTRE
Discussing the prospects for cooperation between the BRICS competition authorities and the BRICS International Competition Law and Policy Centre was one of the key items on the agenda of the meeting of the BRICS Coordination Committee on Antimonopoly Policy, which took place on the 12 November.
Opening the discussion, the Stats-Secretary, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, Andrey Tsarikovsky, informed the delegates that the order of the Government of the Russian Federation on ensuring the activities of the BRICS International Competition Law and Policy Centre as an independent subdivision in the structure of the Higher School of Economics was issued on 24 September 2020. The support of the Government provides the center with good financial and political support for further work.
Andrey Tsarikovsky reminded the participants that at the meeting of the Heads of competition authorities of the BRICS countries on July 23 the Director of the Center, Alexey Ivanov, focused on the work of the Center over the previous five years, the period when the Center had the status of a research initiative of the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development, and presented the plans up to the end of 2022. The BRICS competition authorities are expected to provide proposals on the working schedule of the Center.
This time Alexey Ivanov spoke about the projects implemented during the summer and autumn months of the current year as well as his vision of work in near future.
In particular, the Center completed an empirical study on the joint fight of competition authorities against cross-border cartels, the presentation of its results took place at the UNCTAD international conference on competition in Geneva in October 2020. One of the promising areas of its activity is the second phase of research on global food chains with a focus on the oligopoly of global seed traders. The work on updating and deepening the report on competition in digital markets in the context of the new challenges posed by the pandemic is conducted. Finally the pharmaceutical markets project, the first preliminary results of which will be presented before the end of this year, is focused on three main blocks: structural problems of the global pharmaceutical market, which have been revealed by COVID-19; anti-competitive practices of buying up competitors' achievements - the so-called “killer acquisitions” (unfriendly mergers and acquisitions); the possibility of reducing barriers to entry to the market for generic medications and in general the problem of increasing the availability of medications by antimonopoly measures.
“We want as many antimonopoly experts from the BRICS countries as possible to be involved in the work of our Center and the partner network created over these five years to develop rapidly. Of course, we also rely on support of the antimonopoly authorities in strengthening this cooperation between the scientific communities of the BRICS countries. A common expert research network consisting of key BRICS research centers in the antimonopoly field will help to bring cooperation of the BRICS countries on economic issues to a new level. We have been cooperating with many of these research centers for a long time and we will establish new contacts, attract more scientific organizations to participate in our applied researches in order to maximize the opportunities of the academic work in order to develop law enforcement practice. We are grateful to the Russian Government for its support and we hope that in the near future the promised funding will be opened and we will be able to fully launch the planned research projects with the participation of our colleagues from the universities of the BRICS countries”, – said Alexey Ivanov.
Lesya Davydova, the Head of the International Economic Cooperation Department of the FAS Russia, summarized that the plans of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre directly correlate with the plans of the BRICS working groups and with other promising projects. She asked the antimonopoly authorities to send their proposals on the plans of the Center and to involve experts and institutions that could take part in its work. The delegates from the BRICS countries unanimously supported the establishment of the Center and highly appreciated its work.
Summing up, Andrey Tsyganov, the Deputy Head of the FAS Russia emphasized: “The goals of the Center are firstly to conduct joint research in the field of antimonopoly regulation in socially significant BRICS markets, to provide methodological and expert support for the activities of BRICS working groups as well as to prepare scientific reports and conduct applied researches. The Center will be able to organize various events for representatives of the BRICS competition authorities in order to exchange experience, and in the future, it may be possible to organize internships for employees of competition authorities”.