FAS RUSSIA IS READY TO ASSIST THE COMPETITION AUTHORITY OF BELARUS IN IMPROVING THE ANTIMONOPOLY LAW
Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, took part in the presentation of the legal review of the competition legislation of Belarus at the UNCTAD site. The event was held via videoconference on December 14, 2020.
The event was opened by Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Teresa Moreira, Head of the Competition and Consumer Policy Department of UNCTAD, and Olga Korolkova, Head of the Division of Antimonopoly Regulation and Competition Methodology of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus, presented the main findings of the evaluation of the competition legislation of the Republic of Belarus.
Vladimir Koltovich, Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus was the moderator. In his speech he noted the close relationship between the competition authorities of Belarus and Russia. The speaker also stressed that the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus have the intergovernmental agreement on development of competition, within the framework of which the antimonopoly authorities regularly hold joint meetings, where experts exchange experience and practices.
In turn, Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, noted that in a short period of time, the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus (MART) has done a titanic work in the field of improving antimonopoly legislation and its enforcement practice.
“Today we are considering the competition law, which has already been updated in 2018, and we are carefully analyzing the proposals prepared by UNCTAD experts. Their reviews of competition law and policy cover different countries. Thus, earlier reviews of the competition legislation of the Republic of Armenia and the Eurasian Economic Union were conducted. They are based on the best international practices accumulated by UNCTAD, and are designed to assist, first of all, developing countries in the adoption and application of the most effective competition legislation and policy,” the speaker explained.
We agree with MART in understanding the great importance of cooperation with UNCTAD, since the unique nature of the institutional design and functional capabilities of our authorities can undoubtedly be of interest to foreign colleagues and get into a moneybox of international experience that is formed at the UNCTAD site,” Andrey Tsyganov added.
According to the representative of the Russian Antimonopoly Authority, the review of the Belarusian competition law is an important stage in the work of the MART.
“The presented review is a kind of international recognition of the efforts made by our Belarusian colleagues and recognition of the positive results that have already achieved. The UNCTAD secretariat and international experts have done extensive work and analyzed in detail the Belarusian competition law. The recommendations of UNCTAD experts correspond to the global trends in the development of competition legislation,” the speaker said.
Andrey Tsyganov also noted that there are some aspects in the review that require clarification and a detailed exchange of views.
“The document is devoted only to the provisions of the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On Countering Monopolistic Activities and Developing Competition” and does not cover important issues of how this law is implemented in practice. The proposals concerning amendments to a number of provisions of the law for a more flexible interpretation are very important. For example, what concerns the issues of defining the powers of the Government, issues related to a more precise definition of the dominant position in the commodity markets, which reflect the existing realities and take into account the rapid development of digital technologies and the digital economy. It was also recommended to assess the possibility of clarifying those chapters of the law that deal with mergers in various ways and means, as well as issues of unfair competition, making their use more accurate and allowing to identify a wide range of violations of competition rules,” the Deputy Head of the FAS Russia said.
Speaking about the proposals to change the structure of the law, Andrey Tsyganov touched upon the transfer of procedural issues in by-laws.
“In this case the FAS Russia has another way. In previous versions of the improvement of the Russian competition law, we have detailed issues related to the rules of consideration of cases, issues related to how we should analyze mergers and acquisitions. It is necessary in order to ensure greater transparency of the legislation and make it understandable to everybody who use it. It is also important to expand the possibility of applying preventive measures that allow more effective and time-consuming restoration of competition in commodity markets. This clearly demonstrates the application of such measures as warning and caution, as well as the introduction of antimonopoly compliance procedures in the Russian Federation,” the speaker said.
“I am sure that the recommendations prepared by the experts of UNCTAD will find their practical application in the future work of the Commission. The FAS Russia is also ready to provide the necessary assistance in discussing the provisions that should be included in the updated version of the Belarusian Antimonopoly law,” Andrey Tsyganov concluded.
“MART strives to implement the best international practices in the Belarusian competition law, take into account the best international experience. UNCTAD consolidates the best practices in the world in the field of competition policy and antimonopoly law. Therefore, it is important for us to have UNCTAD's high expert assessment of the results of MART's work in the field of competition law. All the proposed recommendations will be taken into account when preparing amendments to the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Countering Monopolistic Activities and Developing Competition,” Vladimir Koltovich, Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus said.
The review was highly appreciated by Arman Shakkaliev, member of the Board (Minister) for competition and Antimonopoly regulation of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Gegham Gevorgyan, Chairman of the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition of the Republic of Armenia and Serik Zhumangarin, Chairman of the Agency for Protection and Development of Competition of the Republic of Kazakhstan.