Ukrainian competition policy in the historical context, de-oligarchization, and the role of competition enforcement in wartime and during the country's reconstruction. These issues were discussed during a webinar held by the American Bar Association (ABA) on February 22. The event was attended by Serhii Shershun, State Commissioner of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. Other participants included Russell Damtoft, Deputy Director of the Office of International Affairs of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), William Kovacic, Professor at The George Washington University Law School, and others.
Experts noted that the development of antitrust enforcement practice in Ukraine was historically difficult, as our country began to work on ensuring competition only in the 90s, after the declaration of independence. Until then, unlike the Baltic countries, Ukraine had no experience of working with a free market. However, international experts state that our country has managed to cope with the challenges and since 2014, there has been significant progress in bringing Ukrainian antitrust law enforcement in line with the world's leading practices.
Russia's aggression has dramatically changed the situation on the Ukrainian markets, but the AMCU has established effective work in the new realities and maintained control over the situation, said Serhii Shershun, the AMCU's State Commissioner. According to him, this year the AMCU is focusing on such areas as energy, fuel market, public procurement, construction market and state aid, etc.
"The AMCU also continues to work on antitrust reform despite the war, as the issue of legislative changes has become especially relevant when Ukraine became a candidate for accession to the European Union", - Mr. Shershun told his colleagues.
In his turn, Russell Damtoft emphasized that antitrust regulation in times of crisis is important for Ukraine and should be carried out despite certain risks.
"Competition law is among the various pressure factors that companies face in such conditions. Sometimes it is necessary to cooperate during these periods. At the same time, competition should not be excluded. When I think of this issue, I think of the speed limit signs on the highway. It would be foolish to say that they do not work during a snowstorm. On the contrary, that's when they are needed the most. And I think the AMCU understands this", - says Russell Damtoft.
Summarizing the results of the discussion, William Kovacic assured: "The challenges that Ukraine is facing today are not only for Ukrainians. The task of the whole West is to provide support. And this will not take a few weeks or a few months. It will take years. If there is such a need, the support should be immediate".
The State Commissioner Serhii Shershun thanked his colleagues for their cooperation and joint work in overcoming the challenges Ukraine is currently facing.