Igor Artemiev: the world is changing right before our eyes
Head of FAS said that economic globalization and digitalization are the main challenges of our time
Head of the antimonopoly body was a speaker at the session on “Antimonopoly policy: important approaches and trends” on 15 September 2017 at Kazan Legal 2017 International Forum. He emphasized that FAS powers on tariff regulation, public procurement and public defence procurement jointly with classic functionalities of the antimonopoly body created synergy aimed at developing competition in all fields.
Igor Artemiev pointed out that the market of attorney services in antimonopoly regulation is flourishing. At the same time tariffs, public procurement, and public defence procurement have not attracted due attention of the legal community, in spite of enormous opportunities in those fields and the need for attorneys.
Outlining the newest economic trends, he pointed out: “The world is changing right before our eyes, legislation is hopelessly obsolete. We need to form new judicial practice and ensure new legal and regulatory framework”.
Discussing globalization of the modern economy, Head of the antimonopoly body stated that analyzing global deals that touch the interests of many jurisdictions require consolidation of the efforts of the antimonopoly authorities and creating new supranational systems”.
He reminded that FAS is now considering such global deals as “Yandex. Taxi” and “Uber” merger in Russia and “Bayer” purchasing “Monsanto”.
Igor Artemiev presented FAS antimonopoly cases against such transnational companies as “Google”, “Microsoft”, and “Apple”. “The most important in the “Google” case was to balance the intellectual property rights and antimonopoly regulation. Undoubtedly, the rights of creators should be protected; at the same time, we should not allow them abusing their dominance”.
He also reminded of the idea of global benchmarking to be used to form price platforms. The antimonopoly bodies from all countries will be able to follow up prices on comparable markets and suppress violations.
Talking about digitalization as a challenge to antimonopoly control, Igor Artemiev said that state-of-the-art technologies are also used to breach the law, for instance, to organize cartels. Regarding use of robots for “leveling” prices, he mentioned: “There is a tentative fine line: companies certainly should observe the pricing policies of their competitors, however, if they set robots to automatically maintain high prices – is constitutes a violation”.
He specially discussed dependence of the costs of goods or services on previous searches, purchases by a user or the user’s financial level: “We suspect now that ordering goods or services from a more modern and expensive phone model, the price sometimes is higher that when ordering from a simpler phone”.
As a prospective area of FAS work, Head of the antimonopoly authority emphasized “uberization” of the economy – creating aggregator platforms that reduce costs and remove intermediaries from economic relations. As a successful example, he gave a joint project with “Russian Railways”, when the nearest car is sent to the ordering party, which reduces empty car mileage and eliminates excessive administrative barriers.
He added that FAS introduced the blockchain technology in workflow management and database keeping and stressed that this technology cannot be controlled from outside so it “will always show correct prices”. Igor Artemiev concluded: “If we created such global databases to be used in analytics in all countries, violations would be impossible, the world would not be distorted and people’s life would become significantly easier”.
Head of FAS has asked a number of questions to Charles McConnel, a senior correspondent of “Global Competition Review”, about his recommendations as to how to improve FAS position in the global ranking of competition authorities.