Tools for assessing competitive neutrality, assessment by competition authorities of their work and the advocacy role of communications. These and a number of other issues were discussed on June 12 by the participants of the meeting of the Working Group No. 2 of the Competition Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which took place as part of the June Competition Week in Paris. The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine was represented at the event by Serhii Shershun, the AMCU's State Commissioner, Yuliia Korol, Deputy Director of the Department for Research and Investigations of Non-Productive Markets, and Milan Shafar, Head of the Section for European Integration and International Cooperation.
Commenting on the Ukrainian delegation's contribution on communications and intervention assessment, Alberto Heimler, Chairman of the Working Party on Competition and Regulation of the OECD Competition Committee, noted the AMCU's significant efforts to focus on key cases. The chairman also drew attention to the issue of public procurement in times of war, as most countries do not have similar experience.
“I assume that in the military economy the very fact of being able to deliver goods to the customer may become more important than compliance with the rules. On the one hand, tender bid-riggings should be prohibited, but on the other hand, everyone should be provided with the necessary goods. It is interesting how the AMCU finds a balance in this matter,” said Alberto Heimler.
For his part, State Commissioner Serhii Shershun emphasized that since the country's resources during the war are particularly limited, the key issue for the AMCU is the effective detection and termination of violations in the form of bid-riggings.
“At the beginning of the war, Ukrainian legislation contained many exceptions to the rules of public procurement, budget institutions could buy what they needed “directly”. Such purchases were faster, which was important for that period, but without a competitive process between bidders. For now, the positive thing is that competition has returned to the sphere of public procurement, and the list of exceptions has become limited. Our goal is to ensure that none of the bidders receives undue benefit from wartime,” the State Commissioner told his colleagues.
Serhii Shershun also noted the increased level of attention of all stakeholders to AMCU's decisions. In particular, State Commissioner pointed out the important role of the media in exercising public control over compliance by businesses and authorities with competition legislation.
“Presentations on new economic methods in competition are especially useful for us. For example, competition authorities use randomized controlled trials conducted in real conditions and their results are the most accurate and reliable for further forming conclusions about the current state of competition, in particular in digital markets. Such conferences definitely contribute to professional growth and familiarization with other views and issues,” commented Yuliia Korol, Deputy Director of the Department for Research and Investigations of Non-Production Markets, on the results of the first day of the event.
In addition to discussions on law enforcement and practice, today on the sidelines of the June Competition Week in Paris, the Ukrainian delegation held working meetings with the Chairman of the OECD Competition Committee, Frédéric Jenny, Head of the OECD Competition Division, Ori Schwartz, and the Head of the Canadian Competition Authority, Matthew Boswell.
On June 13, the Ukrainian delegation will join the meeting of Working Group 3, which will, in particular, consider the experience of individual countries in changing the merger review system and improving the effectiveness of leniency. A meeting with the participants of the Memorandum on Cooperation, signed by competition authorities of the Central and Eastern European countries, is also planned, during which it is expected to sum up the interim results of joint work.
As a reminder, the OECD Competition Week will last in Paris until June 16.