LIDC CONGRESS 2013 IN KIEV

19-22 September 2013

The Annual Congress of the International League of Competition Law – LIDC (Switzerland) was for the first time held in Kyiv during September 19-22, 2013. The Congress brought together over 100 participants from around the world (Brazil, Japan, USA, Europe, Australia, and CIS), including reputable scientists, leading practitioners in the field of competition law and intellectual property as well as representatives of European and Ukrainian competition authorities.

The International League of Competition Law (LIDC) is an association of professionals established to study competition law, intellectual property rights, as well as unfair competition. The Annual LIDC Congress has been held for more than 20 years and is one of the largest international events in the field of competition law and intellectual property. Upon its results resolutions are adopted, with possible solutions for discussed issues and recommendations to governments.

This year the Congress was hosted in Kyiv by the Association for Resistance to Unfair Competition, the official LIDC representative in Ukraine. Law firms Asters and Arzinger which actively practice in the spheres of competition law and IP supported the Congress as sponsors.  

“Association for Resistance to Unfair Competition, the official LIDC representative in Ukraine, has the great honour of hosting this important large-scale event, a major one in the area of competition law and intellectual property, in Ukraine. We are particularly proud of the fact that the Congress is held outside the European Union, and namely in Ukraine, for the first time in its 20 years’ history, which further emphasizes the importance of the event for Ukraine in developing international relations and in positioning our country on the world stage as a nation that respects and develops competitive relations both in business and society,” says Sergiy Shklyar, Dr. jur., Founding Partner of Arzinger, President of ARUC in Ukraine.

Opening the Congress, Chairman of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) Vasyl Tsushko thanked the participants and organizers for having chosen Kyiv as a venue for the Congress and for considering the issues that Ukrainian antitrust authorities are concerned with today. Mr. Tsushko said that the Ukrainian antitrust legislation has been established mainly due to and with the help of the leading European and international experts and is constantly being refined and improved.

The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine actively engages and seeks advice of international experts. Thus, in the course of the Competition Promotion Program for 2014-2024 we actively involved UNCTAD and ICAP experts as well as other international experts. As a result, the Committee received good and serious materials that were further implemented and applied in finalizing the Program. “The program will be passed as a bill. It was approved by the Government in August and is now undergoing the formalities to be submitted to the Parliament. Its preparation involved international experts and practically all the authorities, up to the regional level, as well as scientists, the legal environment, and companies. We have tried to take all into account so that the Program could work afterwards... European experts helped us to develop the Bill on State Aid for Business Entities, which will be considered by the Parliament and will also facilitate the development of competition,” Vasyl Tsushko noted.

In this regard, the International Congress on Competition Law in Kyiv is particularly important for the development of competition in Ukraine. “We believe we will obtain important and interesting material for analysis and study based on the results of the Congress. We will also share experience with international counterparts and learn theirs to improve the Committee’s effectiveness,” Mr. Tsushko concluded.

Working closely with the LIDC Office and the LIDC Scientific Committee, ARUC developed a program dedicated to urgent issues, such as antitrust regulation of retail food market, incompliance with CSR policies, unfair commercial practices and recovery of damages caused by the breach of antitrust law, FRAND standards, trademarks and market aspects of the new top-level domains as well as the observance of antimonopoly legislation. Speakers on the above issues were the respected and well-known international experts in the area of competition, including: Prof. Frédéric Jenny, ESSEC Business School (France); Guy Tritton, Hogarth Chambers (Great Britain); Prof. Anselm Kamperman Sanders, Maastricht University (Netherlands); Dr. Claudia Tapia, LL.M, BlackBerry (Germany); Dr. Szilvia Szekely, European Commission; Richard Wolfram, Attorney-at-law (USA); Christian Loyau, ETSI (France); Prof. Muriel Chagny,University of Versailles (France); Bruce Kilpatrick, Addleshaw Goddard (Great Britain); Dr. Marco Hartmann-Rüppel, Taylor Wessing (Germany); Dr. Torsten Bettinger, LL.M.; Bettinger Schneider Schramm (Germany).

A separate panel was dedicated to the observance of antitrust legislation and the key issues of economic competition in Ukraine and Russia. Presentations were delivered by Mykola Barash, State Commissioner of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine; Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, German Zakharov, consultant of the law firm ALRUD, Executive Director of the non-commercial partnership “Promoting Competition in the CIS” (Russia), and Natalia Ivanytska, Dr. jur., Senior Associate at Arzinger, ARUC expert (Ukraine). The panel was moderated by Oleksander Voznyuk, Counsel, Antitrust Law Practice, Asters (Ukraine).

In his report “Development of Competition Policy Implementation in Ukraine” Mykola Barash presented the results of performance of the Ukrainian competition authority throughout the duration of the modern competition law system in Ukraine (since March 2002), including the cessation of 39,000 violations with more than 5800 notices provided. Among the important causes of such violations he noted the imperfect market structures, crisis manifestations in the economy, the low effectiveness of self-regulation mechanisms as well as the impact of competition restrictions of international origin.

According to Mr. Barash, the main areas of competition policy in Ukraine are the modernization of AMCU’s work, the improvement of the legal framework for the development and protection of competition and the establishment of a coordination mechanism to reform and develop the market relations.

Andrey Tsyganov shared the experience of competition authorities and the effect of competition law in Russia. Thus, according to the statistics for 2012 the FAS of Russia opened proceedings in more than 10,000 cases. In that regard, more 8173 violations of antitrust laws were found, with the respective fines amounting to 11.6 billion rubles (about 380 million USD). Among the achievements of the Russian authorities were the reduced pressure on business due to the reduction of control over economic concentrations in the part of mergers and acquisitions. For instance, in 2014 it was planned to completely eliminate the notification procedure for the consideration of economic concentration transactions. In the long term, FAS of Russia sets itself the task to increase the effectiveness of enforcement based on global best practices and to reduce the administrative burden on business. These tasks are displayed in the long-term strategy till 2024 as approved by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia in 2013.

The issue of antitrust regulation in Russia was continued by German Zakharov, who described the standpoint of business regarding the formation of an effective competition policy. The positive impact of changes in the law in respect of anti-competitive agreements, according to Mr. Zakharov, are the separation of anti-competitive agreements and concerted anti-competitive actions, the liberalization of vertical agreements regulation and the development of techniques to interpret legislation. At the same time, there is a risk of lowering standards of proof (substitution of notions of competition assessment and of market analysis).

In her turn, Natalia Ivanytska highlighted some actively discussed issues of antitrust systems functioning in different jurisdictions, as the approach to their solution predetermines the model of effective functioning of business structures and regulation of their behavior by competition authorities. In particular, Natalia revealed the specifics of approaches in the USA, the EU, Russia and Ukraine to resolve issues such as cartels and concerted action, parallel behavior, standards of proof, Leniency, and methods of determining the level of fines.

The second day of the Congress was dedicated to two scientific issues: (1) the effectiveness of anti-monopoly regulation in the retail food market (mergers, restrictive practices, abuse of dominance); (2) whether incompliance with CSR policies (corporate social responsibility) shall be deemed unfair commercial practice.

Earlier, the national groups of LIDC, including ARUC, submitted their reports on each of the issues. Based on them, international speakers developed detailed reports. One of the national speakers on scientific issues from Ukraine was a leading expert in the field of Ukrainian antitrust and competition law Timur Bondaryev, Managing Partner and Head of Antitrust and Competition at Arzinger, and Igor Svechkar, Parter at Asters.

At the end of the presentations and discussions the Congress participants drafted resolutions on each of the scientific issues, proposing possible solutions and relevant recommendations to public authorities. The texts of the resolutions are available on the LIDC Website: www.ligue.org

At the end of the Congress Sergiy Shklyar thanked again everyone for participation and said: “We thank everyone for their participation in the Congress in Kyiv and are really glad to have the opportunity to lead an open dialogue on such a high international level. By exchanging experiences and disclosing specific approaches to resolving issues in the area of antitrust and competition regulation we make the development and strengthening of fair rules of economic competition as well as the harmonization of competition law real and effective actions rather than declarative statements.”

Wath photos