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Competition / Antitrust Law
Competition / Antitrust Law Definition
In addition to the traditional domain of competition law, Russian antitrust law also governs state procurement, foreign investments in strategic industrial enterprises, natural monopolies’ fees, defense procurement, and advertising. All of the above matters fall within the purview of the principal federal authority in the field of antitrust law – Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS of Russia). The service investigates cases regarding breaches of law, grants preliminary approval to M&A transactions that result in concentration of economic power, and prescribes rules of conduct for market participants. The uniquely broad scope of antitrust regulation and the jurisdiction of antimonopoly service are due to specific circumstances of Russian economy, such as high degree of monopolization and significant proportion of government participation in major companies.
The goal of Russian antitrust regulation is to support competition between participants in commodity and financial markets, promote development of new technologies, greater competitive capacity of goods, and expanded range of consumer options.
The cornerstone of Russian antitrust law is the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”. It aims to prevent and suppress monopolistic activity and unfair competition on behalf of private parties, as well as restraining government bodies from undertaking actions that limit or prevent competition. Limiting competition via creation of a cartel incurs criminal sanctions.
Certain laws regulate the procedure for procurement of goods, labor, and services by governmental and municipal authorities, as well as companies with state participation, to promote a competitive procurement environment. Specific laws were passed to control the activities of natural monopolies in order to prevent them from abusing their dominant position.
The Federal Law “On Advertising” is also aimed at the development of goods, labor, and services markets on the basis on principles of ethical competition. Unfair and untrustworthy advertisement is not allowed. These requirements are similar to limitations on unfair competition imposed by the law “On Protection of Competition”.
Antitrust attorneys advise on compliance with antitrust law, provide legal assistance on transaction clearance, and protect the clients’ interests during cases reviewed by the FAS of Russia and the courts.
The broad scope of antitrust regulation requires the attorneys to attain an ever-increasing degree of specialization in specific fields – transaction clearance, state procurement, anti-cartel case litigation, and advertisement. A new direction that is developing in Russia is antitrust compliance: companies, primarily major ones, seek the aid of antitrust attorneys to develop internal documents to ensure compliance with the requirements of antitrust law within said companies.
Since major companies and natural monopoly entities are concentrated in major Russian cities, antitrust attorneys conduct their practice primarily in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Ekaterinburg. Generally, the largest law firms and attorney-at-law offices are the ones to develop antitrust practice.
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