On October 28, the UNCTAD Working Group on Cross-Border Cartels met online to discuss the future direction of its work.
The meeting was attended by more than 50 experts, scientists and representatives of competition authorities from different countries, including Alexey Ivanov, Director of the International BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre, and Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the FAS Russia.
In the framework of the event, the UNCTAD Secretariat recommended member countries to discuss further activities of the Working Group and presented a report on its work for the past period. In furtherance of the recommendations set forth therein, Andrey Tsyganov proposed to work on the issue of creating universally recognized UN standards for the exchange of experience in cross-border cartel investigations.
This would increase the effectiveness of detection of cross-border cartels and provide an opportunity for member states to complement the legal framework with the necessary tools of cooperation used in such investigations.
UNCTAD Working Group (WG) on Cross Border Cartels (CBCs) established by the eight review UN Conference on Competition in October 2020.
In the framework of the Conference at the round table on October 22 the report "Combatting cross-border cartels: empirical study" was presented.
Since the founding of the group, the BRICS Center has provided methodological support and managed to prepare two versions of this report on the experience of competition authorities in combating cross-border cartels.
In 2021-2022, the Working Group dealt with the issues of digitalization, cooperation, law enforcement and leniency programs. Particular attention was paid to the practical difficulties that competition authorities face when investigating cross-border cartels.
The Working Group's activities during this period included a review of the enforcement experiences of competition authorities in Chile, the European Commission, Austria and Colombia. These case studies explored the significant differences in cartel investigation procedures and how these differences affect the interaction of competition authorities.
In July 2022, during the twentieth session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy, it was decided to extend its mandate until July 2023. The BRICS Competition Centre will continue its activities as part of the Working Group and will take an active part in ongoing projects.
It should be recalled that in 2021 the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre and UNCTAD signed a memorandum of understanding. The agreement is aimed at developing cooperation between UNCTAD and HSE University in the field of competition, with a focus on the problems posed by cross-border cartels.