Russia favors foreign investment – antimonopoly regulator

Andrey Tsyganov, Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, met today with a select group of members of Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia. The meeting was chaired by Oleg Prozorov, BLCC CEO, and focused on freedom of competition and effective protection of entrepreneurship, equal access to goods, works, and services of natural monopolies.

As Andrey Tsyganov pointed out, FAS is a truly independent body which strictly adheres to the competition neutrality principle and sees its major tasks in securing corporate rights, overseeing M&E deals, offering expertise through its diverse and multiple councils, as well as in counteracting cartel agreements, abuse by corporations of their monopolistic powers, and operations by mala fide vendors. Meeting participants were pleased to learn companies from Belgium and Luxemburg have never been subject to FAS prosecution for legislation breaches of any sort.

With its 3,500 employees, Mr Tsyganov said, FAS is one of the world’s largest antimonopoly regulators and most efficient in overseeing government procurements, natural monopolies operations, tariffs disputes, information disclosure, pricing in defense industries, and in forwarding preventive demands (of which 80% are duly honored).

Deterrence of cartel agreements, according to Mr Tsyganov, is agency’s top priority, as such deals (which are criminally punishable in Russia) are especially hazardous for the national economy. Most of cartel agreements have been recorded in sectors such as construction (29%), pharmaceuticals (16%), and food supplies (8%). Yet the numbers are gradually declining.

FAS’ another essential task is ensuring compliance with rules, procedures and practices for FDIs in Russia’s strategic industries. Over the 11 years of its existence, FAS has been involved (within a special government commission) in reviewing 606 requests for foreign investment approval, of which 245 have already been approved and 18 declined while 260 were found requiring no special government approval. In view of Andrey Tsyganov, that is a clear sign of Russia’s openness to foreign investments.

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