In 2019, the Russian Government supported the work of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre at the Higher School of Economics and plans for its activities. Previously, The BRICS Competition Centre functioned as part of the HSE – Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development, a Moscow-based international think tank. The initiative to transform the Centre into an independent unit was put forward by the FAS of Russia, it was supported by other BRICS antitrust agencies.
It is assumed that in the future the Centre will be transformed into an international organization, close in functionality to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Competition Committee. The aim of the BRICS Competition Centre is to provide the meeting point for BRICS competition law research, ensure the scientific support the work of BRICS competition authorities and to promote a distinct BRICS competition law agenda for the global economy. The BRICS Competition Centre collaborates with a number of partner institutions worldwide and relies on a group of internationally known competition law and policy experts, public intellectuals, industry and technology leaders.
In recent years FAS Russia together with the HSE – Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development has been actively working on the strengthening of cooperation with the BRICS countries in the antimonopoly sphere.
• 2015 — The first large-scale conference was organized in St. Petersburg jointly with the University College London. Then managed to gather the world's leading scientists, who work on new progressive approaches to antimonopoly regulation.
• 2016 — The first framework agreement on cooperation between the BRICS countries in the field of competition protection was signed in St. Petersburg. The subsequent Working Group on Global Food Chains became a pilot project for the cooperation of BRICS antitrust agencies. HSE experts provided scientific and expert support for the group's activities.
• 2018 — The BRICS Competition Centre was launched as a structural unit of the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development.
From the very beginning the project was included in the international research agenda and was implemented with the participation of the world's leading scientists. Ioannis Lianos, Professor at UCL, was a leading researcher at the HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development and played a significant role in the launch of the BRICS Competition Centre. Professor Lianos has now been appointed as the Head of the Hellenic Competition Commission. For one of the Centre's key projects — research on new approaches to antitrust regulation of the digital economy — an International Advisory Board of internationally renowned scientists and practitioners was also formed. It was headed by Professor Eleanor Fox of New York University and Nobel Prize-winning Professor Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.
Antitrust agencies around the world are concerned about the growing concentration of capital and other resources, including data and technology, in the hands of an ever smaller number of players. For the BRICS countries, the problems of rising inequality and stagnant economic development are more acute than for developed economies. Therefore, the key mission of the BRICS Competition Centre should be to promote the development agenda and strengthen the role of antitrust regulation in overcoming imbalances in the global economy.
Over the past five years, the BRICS Competition Centre's leading partner universities have been actively involved in the Centre's main research projects: On global food value chains and On new approaches to antitrust regulation of the digital economy.
"The Centre's work confirmed once again that Russian research groups can become drivers of scientific cooperation in the international agenda," says Alexey Ivanov. "Moreover, this cooperation also enters the practical plane. The outcome of the food project, in particular, was a change in approaches to negotiating economic concentration deals on a global scale in emerging markets. In the discussion of the digital economy the Centre pushed the BRICS antimonopoly agencies to take practical steps to transform regulation, which in Russia was reflected in the development of the Fifth Antimonopoly Package and a change in a number of approaches in law enforcement practice. Similar legislative initiatives are already under consideration in India and China at the instigation of our partners in these countries," he notes.
"There is a clear demand in the world today for fairness and changes in the architecture of the global economy that cannot be ignored. The antitrust law can become one of effective tools for satisfaction of this request, if it is actively applied in a coordinated manner by our countries representing almost half of the world population and economic power," says Alexey Ivanov, Director of the Centre.