ANDREY TSYGANOV: THE FAS RUSSIA IS A MULTIFUNCTIONAL REGULATOR OPERATING IN MANY AREAS THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
There was a virtual OECD RCC Seminar on "Competition Policy to ensure a level playing field between private and public firms" attended by Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia.
Within the framework of the seminar there was a round table "Competitive neutrality in Eastern Europe and Central Asia". The moderator was Sabina Zigelski, Senior Competition Expert, OECD. Representatives of the competition authorities of Russia, Georgia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine took part in the discussions.
The participants of the event considered the problems of ensuring compliance with competition rules in relation to state-owned enterprises and those advocacy actions that can help governments achieve competitive neutrality between public and private companies.
Speaking at the round table, Andrey Tsyganov stressed that in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, state, private and other forms of ownership are recognized and protected equally, and the Russian Antimonopoly legislation applies to public and private companies, Russian and foreign economic entities in the same way without any exceptions.
Describing cases from the law enforcement practice of the Russian competition authority Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia, noted the following:
"In the FAS Russia’s consideration between 2008-2011 of three waves of cases relating to the abuse of a dominant position by several oil companies, each of which had a different form of ownership: OJSC Rosneft, OJSC Gazpromneft, OJSC Lukoil and TNK-BP. The cases were investigated and reviewed in accordance with the Russian antitrust laws, regardless of the form of ownership and structure of assets. The investigations resulted in the imposition of fines amounting to a total of more than 470 million euros," the Deputy Head of the FAS Russia said.
Speaking about anti-competitive agreements, Andrey Tsyganov said the following:
"The FAS Russia and its regional offices quite often identify cases when state unitary enterprises and state authorities are the participants of different forms of agreements restraining competition or concerted actions. The FAS Russia has effective tools to combat such violations. Russian competition law provides for the liability of state authorities for such actions. In 2019, the FAS Russia identified 276 such violations of article 16 of the Law on Protection of Competition".
During his speech, Andrey Tsyganov noted that in addition to antimonopoly regulation, the authority monitors compliance with legislation on public procurement, including in the field of defence and security, on advertising, on foreign investments in strategic business companies, on trade, in terms of compliance with antitrust requirements, and controls the provision of state aid, anti-competitive actions of state authorities, and is also charged with tariff regulation.
"The FAS Russia is a multifunctional regulator that operates in many areas that are important for the development of the economy. operates in collaboration with other federal executive bodies, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, government bodies of the subjects of the Russian Federation, local authorities, public associations and other organizations. In this regard, the principle of competitive neutrality is expressed in the FAS Russia's assessment of industry policies and the development of conclusions on their impact on competition, which are submitted to the Government of the Russian Federation, including in the framework of the annual Report on the state of competition in the Russian Federation," said Andrey Tsyganov.
As examples, the speaker cited the development of proposals for compliance with competitive neutrality when allowing credit institutions to provide certain types of banking services and to participate in concessional financing programs, as well as the package of amendments and additions to the Law on Protection of Competition that restrict the activities of state unitary enterprises that entered into force in 2020.