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Arman Shakkaliev: "Efficient interaction between competition agencies and the Commission is the key to improving business climate in our countries"

Arman Shakkaliev: "Efficient interaction between competition agencies and the Commission is the key to improving business climate in our countries"

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3/26/2021

Relevant matters of improving the Eurasian Economic Union's law, past year’s results and plans for the upcoming period were discussed by Heads of the EAEU countries’ competition agencies and Arman Shakkaliev, Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Competition and Antitrust Regulation of the Eurasian Economic Commission during an online consultation held on March 25 (the so-called "5+1" format).

Informing about key performance outcomes for 2020, Arman Shakkaliev noted that the intensity of work conducted by the Commission’s Antitrust Unit for monitoring compliance with the common rules of competition in transboundary markets was not reduced last year despite the difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We agreed and forwarded proposals on 10 applications to potential violators to take actions aimed at eliminating competition violations in transboundary markets. We conducted 13 investigations and reviewed 11 cases. For the first time ever, the parties to the transboundary anti-competitive agreement paid fines to the budget of the States where they are registered," the EEC Minister noted.

In 2020, the EEC’s Competition Unit paid special attention to improving the EAEU competition law. For example, owing to the pandemic, amendments were introduced at Kazakhstan's initiative into the Methodology for Calculating Fines and the Procedure for Considering Cases in terms of Suspending Procedural Terms. Amendments to the Treaty on the EAEU relating to the introduction of preventive tools to prevent violations of the general rules of competition were diligently drafted as well.

The necessity to maintain a direct connection with the business community to shape pro-competitive mentality among entrepreneurs has been mentioned. Antitrust compliance – a preventive measure and preventive control of competition rules violations in transboundary markets should become an efficient tool in this regard.

"We propose to standardize compliance and make it part of the overall quality and risk management system," Arman Shakkaliev stressed.

The need to elaborate a set of recommended rules for interaction between retail chains and suppliers of consumer goods has become one of the important talking points. Today, the Commission’s Competition Unit initiated elaborating and implementing a Code of Good Practices for Interaction between Retail Chains and Manufacturers (Suppliers) in the EAEU Member States.

The EEC has gained membership in the International Competition Network (ICN), which testifies the increased confidence in the EAEU and its recognition on the international stage.

"We are already actively engaged in the ICN working groups and plan to be as involved as we can in other ICN working projects. Our objective is to influence the formation of the global competitive agenda," the EEC Minister noted. 

Arman Shakkaliev highlighted the OECD review of the EAEU legal regulation and competition policy as well as meetings at the UNCTAD’s venue with regional associations vested with supranational powers in the field of competition as priority areas for developing international cooperation this year.

In the field of public procurement, the Rules for Determining the Country of Origin of Certain Types of Goods for Public Procurement Purposes were approved in 2020, laying down the key principle of creating cooperation chains – transactions performed in one of the EAEU States will be considered when manufacturing finished products in another State. This approach will enable public procurement to create a regional industrial coalition of the Union and prevent the emergence of "break points" in the public procurement market when the States restrict access thereto. This year, the Commission will focus on issues of full-fledged digitalization, ensuring information openness and transparency of public procurement.

It should be noted that the meeting of Heads of the EAEU countries’ antitrust agencies in the "5+1" format was attended for the first time by representatives of competition agencies of the Union's observer countries from the Republic of Moldova and the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as Julio Garmendia Pena, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cuba to the Russian Federation.

The event attendees agreed to hold the next consultation in June this year in Yerevan.​