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The standard application of antitrust prohibitions: the factors of formation and development

Priority areas of development: economics
Department: Laboratory of Competition and Antimonopoly Policy
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The object of the research in 2017 was application of economic analysis in the framework of assessing the effects of companies' activities in antitrust enforcement.

The goal of the research is to explain the size and the directions of application for economic analysis in the investigations of Federal Antitrust Service of Russia and in the challenging of decisions of Federal Antitrust Service (FAS) of Russia within the Arbitral Court of Russian Federation.

Methodology. To fulfill this goal the research was made with the following methods of analysis:

1) The analyses of economic theory development and enforcement in the sphere of antitrust prohibition for agreements (taking into account the balance of per se (which are the absolute prohibitions) and rule of reason approaches;

2) The analyses of principles of antitrust prohibition for agreements in the application of per se and rule of reason in Russia;

3) The analyses of connection between economic theory and antitrust reforms practice;

4) The analyses of the connection between economic theory and antitrust policy of nature monopoly deregulation (based the example of gas industry of Russia);

5) The analyses of antitrust practice in respect to collusions of bid rigging in the case of state procurements with problems in the standard of proofs in this field;

6) The analyses of logic decisions regarding petition about merger, finding the factors to prove antitrust prohibitions of mergers (based on the example of oil industry of Russia);

7) The analyses of rules about application of antitrust prohibitions of tacit collusions (based on the case of tariffs rise by international ocean lines - container-shipping carriers)

Empirical base of research:

1) Data base upon examination of antitrust cases on receipt of Arbitral Courts when the companies contested the decisions and prosecutions of Federal Antitrust Service of Russia under the articles 11 and 11.1 of “Competition Law” including the cases (400 cases) initiated in the period of 2008 – 2012;

2) The analyses of practice about the deregulation of nature monopoly markets (including Russian gas industry);

3) The characteristics of oil industry in Russia and the information about the results of FAS examination of petitions about mergers in this market;

4) The analyses of container shipping market in the case of tariffs rise by international ocean lines - container-shipping carriers

Results of research:

In mature jurisdictions (USA, EU) the trend of refusal to apply antitrust prohibitions of agreements per se (based on juridical characteristics) in favor of rule of reason approach has been formed.  As the result agreement prohibition has been feasible only taking into account the effects of particular practice. The advantages and risks of changes in this field were shown.

  • It was shown on the base of decisions of Arbitral Courts in Russia (400 cases initiated in the period of 2008 – 2012) the rule of reason has been used very seldom.  In spite of current legislation (article 13 of “Competition Law”) only 5 cases from 400 were won by companies regarding the analysis of agreements’ effects.  The refusal to apply the rule of reason and lack of legal clarity in this question are making the risks of type I errors.
  • Three examples were studied which are devoted to Russian reforms of state regulations: the orders about prices for the largest exporters, alternative models of tariff regulation and procurements and the activities about deregulation of domestic gas market. It was shown how important to take into account the recommendation of economic theory for efficiency of made reforms.
  • It was shown that in the process of the deregulations of nature monopolies on the example of Russian gas industry, the regulator has to come across many difficulties.  These difficulties are connected to need to take into account the effects as from the side of nature monopolies as from the side of independent companies (which can have losses) and consumers (who can receive surpluses from these reforms).  So the total changes of social welfare has been ambiguous.
  • In the base of analysis of Russian and international skills in the area of antitrust prohibitions of bid rigging collusions was shown that for this type of cases the refusal of market’s economic analysis, competition, strategies against risks of type I errors is inadmissible.
  • The results of analysis about the decisions of FAS regarding the merger permissibility in the oil market confirm the fact that antitrust policy in the petrochemicals sector solves two tasks contradict each other. First, this is the support of low prices on the motor fuel by provision of petrochemicals products on the competitive retail market. Second, the strengthening of competitive position of the largest Russian companies in the world market at the expense of concentration growth in the output and processing of oil.
  • The regression analysis has not confirmed the validity of conclusion, which Russian antitrust authority has made about the practice of tariffs announcement by container carriers as competition restriction and the price growth.  But the conclusion about the limitation of influence of price announcement practice in collusion could be made without price research. Such conclusion can be made with simple methods of market analysis, which provided by current methodological documents together with “Competition Law”. The prosecution of companies in the competition restriction should be accompanied by the detail analysis of market characteristics which includes concentration.

Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of Results.

Under the project the ways of effective progress in the application of antitrust prohibitions for different practice of firm interaction under the conditions of risks of risks of type I errors and the recommendations to develop the using of the rule of reason approach.  

Field of implementation

The results of current research can be used as in the development of antitrust legislation as in the deregulation and enforcement procedure.



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Авдашева С.Б., Голованова С.В., Крючкова П.В., Павлова Н., Шаститко А., Мелешкина А., Шаститко А., Сухорукова К.А., Юсупова Г.Ф., Кудряшова Е. Антимонопольная политика на связанных рынках: теория и практика / Науч. ред.: С. Б. Авдашева, А. Е. Шаститко. М. : Издательский дом «Дело» РАНХиГС, 2018.