17th session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy UN Conference on Trade and Development (IGE UNCAD)

The 17th session of UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Competition Law and Policy opened on 11 July 2018 in Geneva (Switzerland).

The opening remarks were given by UNCTAD General Secretary, Mukhisa Kituyi; Head of Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD, Tereza Moreira; and a professor of New York University, Eleanor Fox. President of Pakistan Competition Commission, Vadiyya Khalil, was elected to chair 17th session of UNCTAD IGE.

UNCTAD Discussion Group on International Cooperation, formed upon a FAS initiative at the 16th session of UNCTAD IGE (July 2017) and worked through 2017-2018, reported on the work progress. UNCTAD Secretariat together with the Discussion Group conducted a survey on obstacles against international cooperation between competition authorities (available on UNCTAD website).

Discussion Group also started working on the text of draft Toolkit on international cooperation of competition authorities to counter restrictive business practices and cross-border violations of the competition rules (further on referred to as the draft Toolkit), presented earlier at the 16th session of UNCTAD IGE by the Head of FAS Igor Artemiev.

Draft Toolkit formalizes practical mechanisms and methods of international cooperation between competition authorities. All largest international organization and associations consider issues of international cooperation, which is confirmed by numerous documents on various aspects of international interaction between competition authorities.

UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices adopted in 1980 is one of fundamental global documents on competition policy covering international cooperation. Since then, global economy has been transformed considerably, more than 100 jurisdictions and some regional economic associations adopted and apply the law on competition, and the number of cross-border violations of the antimonopoly law and global mergers and acquisitions is increasing year-on-year. High dynamics of economic processes and the speed of making administrative decisions require adequate responses by competition authorities. In this context, significant modernization of the Set is necessary; particularly, include practical mechanisms of cooperation between the antimonopoly bodies available to all competition authorities in the world.

Andrey Tsyganov pointed out that UNCTAD Secretariat carried out enormous work within the frame of the Discussion Group for intensive discussion of international cooperation. As a result, many comments were received from competition authorities and regional associations on the text of the draft Toolkit, while FAS Russia prepared an updated version of the draft Toolkit, also available for further discussion. Finally, Deputy Head of FAS presented a plan for further refining the draft Toolkit.

Speakers during the discussion included representatives of Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Burkina Faso, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, OECD, Peru, Salvador, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tunisia and the US. Many delegates supported the idea of devising an international document containing practical mechanisms and methods of cooperation between competition authorities and were in favor of continuing the work of UNCTAD Discussion Group on international cooperation.

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