The BRICS Antimonopoly Centre opens at the Higher School of EconomicsThis summer the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development has opened a new division - the BRICS Antimonopoly Centre. The latter will engage in applied research and expert analysis aimed at improving competition policies and strengthening antitrust regulation in the BRICS economies. The Centre will also coordinate the activities of the BRICS member states’ competition authorities and scientific communities.
The first steps in launching the BRICS Antimonopoly Centre were made by the HSE — Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development team back in 2015. According to the Director of the Institute Alexey Ivanov, breakneck globalization has brought about an abnormal situation where the global market operates in the absence common competition rules. Hence, a host of irregularities and malpractices that had been successfully restricted at the national level have “spilled over” into the global market. Over the last 3 or 4 years the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service in coordination with the HSE — Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development has been actively involved in enhancing cooperation among the BRICS countries in the area of antitrust regulation.
What has been achieved? The HSE — Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development launched a food market regulation project in cooperation with the BRICS competition authorities, alongside holding joint seminars and conferences which resulted in signing the first framework agreement on cooperation among the BRICS nations in the area of antitrust regulation.
With this track record the Institute established itself as a leading expert during the talks over the acquisition of the Russia-based American “Monsanto” by the German industrial giant Bayer. The Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service, which had the final say in the agreement, insisted on a number of provisions aimed at strengthening competition in agro-industries. First and foremost, Bayer pledged to transfer a number of its digital solutions and seed selection technologies to Russian agricultural companies. Such regulatory decision, reflecting the BRICS countries’ economic agenda priorities, has set a revolutionary precedent for the world.
Along with the food market regulation project, which had proved effective, new workgroups were formed jointly with the BRICS competition authorities in order to pursue cooperation in pharmaceutical and digital markets regulation. On top of all that, the President of the Russian Federation signed a resolution endorsing the establishment of the BRICS Antimonopoly Centre at the HSE premises, which, among other things, will be entrusted with substantive and organizational preparation for the BRICS Conference on Antitrust Regulation due in Moscow in 2019.
“Our ambition,” says Alexey Ivanov, “is to transform the Centre into an international body for cooperation among the BRICS countries’ competition authorities that would perform functions similar to those of the OECD (Organisation on Cooperation and Development) Competition Committee. These would primarily consist in collecting the data (including sensitive files) from the BRICS countries’ competition authorities, determining the best practices and - most importantly – issuing recommendations and formulating regulation policies approaches that would fully comply with the demands of the BRICS economies and would build on the expert knowledge and scientific research provided by the BRICS member states. Moreover, we are planning to establish a Scientific Board at the Centre’s premises that will bring together internationally recognized scientists, as well as to set up a Supervisory Board, consisting of one representative of each of the BRICS countries competition authorities”.
In its first years of existence the BRICS Antimonopoly Centre will draw on the staff resources of the HSE — Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development. The Chief Research Fellow of the Institute for Law and Development Ioannis Lianos will spearhead the Centre’s scientific research, while Alexey Ivanov will engage in the general supervision of the Centre’s activities. The Centre will be working in close cooperation with other HSE science and research units that possess state of the art expertise in relevant fields, most notably the Department of Applied Economic, HSE - Faculty of Economic Sciences, and the Institute for Competition and Market Regulation.