27-02-2024 | 14:30

An expanded meeting of the BRICS Working Group for the Research of Competition Issues in Food Markets was held in Cairo

The event was organized by the Egyptian Competition Authority jointly with the FAS Russia and the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre. This is the first event dedicated to competition policy issues in the year of Russia's BRICS Chairmanship and held in an updated format with the participation of new member countries.

The meeting was attended by representatives of competition authorities of the BRICS+ countries, including Brazil, India, China, South Africa, Nigeria, Gambia, Tanzania, as well as Egypt and Iran. In addition, reports were made by Teresa Moreira, Head of the Competition and Consumer Policy Branch at the UNCTAD, Ahmed Mukhtar, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Isaac Tausha, Chief Economist of the COMESA Competition Commission.

Deputy Head of the FAS Russia Andrey Tsyganov addressed the participants of the meeting of the BRICS Working Group for the Research of Competition Issues in Food Markets with a welcoming speech. He stressed the importance of discussing issues related to global changes in the global food market. Thus, at the moment there is a tendency for mergers of large multinational corporations in the agricultural market. It can have a negative impact on the state of competition in developing countries and lead to further monopolization of the market.

During the meeting of the Working Group, Andrey Tsyganov also told the partners about the Russian experience and measures of antimonopoly regulation of the agro-industrial complex. Thus, the FAS Russia promotes the development of self-regulation of the market and declares the importance of fair behavior of participants in the agricultural market, considers transactions of economic concentration, as well as controls the provision of subsidies. In terms of regulating fair competition, the Authority combines strict sanctions and soft law mechanisms.

Besides, the Authority constantly monitors prices for food and foodstuffs and takes response measures in cases of price violations. In order to share experience and comprehensively analyze the agro-industrial market, it is proposed to conduct a joint global sectoral study of the food market with the support of the BRICS Centre. The participants of the event supported this proposal.

Chairman of the Egyptian Competition Authority Mahmoud Momtaz also noted the relevance and timeliness of discussing new measures and approaches to regulating food markets. He stressed that the global grain trade plays a key role in ensuring the food security of people around the world, and therefore should be under the close attention of the competition authorities of the countries. Thus, one of the factors negatively affecting the state of competition may be economic concentration. In this regard, the task of the antimonopoly authorities of the countries is to identify joint approaches to ensure transparency and equal conditions for all participants in the food markets.

The Deputy Head of the Competition Commission of South Africa, Hardin Ratshisusu, in turn, noted that the Comission is currently paying special attention to pricing for chicken meat and eggs. In this regard, the South African Competition Commission is studying the current and past experience of colleagues from the competition authorities of the BRICS+ countries, including the FAS Russia, as a part of improving antimonopoly regulation and developing new approaches to regulating the food market.

Liu Hanqing, a representative of the Competition Policy Coordination Department of the State Administration for Market Regulation of China, said that the SAMR also pays special attention to the issue of regulating fair competition in food markets. As a part of the initiatives developed by the antimonopoly authority to regulate food markets, Liu Hanqing spoke about the preparation by the Authority of specific recommendations for business regarding the prevention of anti-competitive practices in the food sector.

Following the meeting of the BRICS Working Group for the Research of Competition Issues in Food Markets, representatives of competition authorities agreed to expand and strengthen cooperation in regulating fair competition in food markets, including jointly with international organizations and the scientific community.

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