By Dr. Aston Zhong1
From November 16 to 17, 2021, the 7th BRICS International Competition Conference (“ICC”) was successfully held in China. The year 2021 is the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the BRICS cooperation mechanism. The BRICS ICC is an important pragmatic event under the framework of the BRICS Leaders’ Meeting. Since 2009, it has been held in the BRICS countries alternately every two years. With the theme of “Openness·Competition·Development,” the conference was held online and onsite simultaneously and included the opening ceremony, five sub-forums, four online bilateral discussions, two online memorandum signing ceremonies and the closing ceremony.
Wang Yong, State Councilor of China and Head of the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council, attended and addressed the 7th BRICS ICC in Beijing. Wang Yong pointed out as follows: The BRICS countries are an important engine for the development of the world economy. There is broad space and significant potential for cooperation in the field of competition. The important results of the 13th BRICS Summit should be implemented. Also the actions of strengthening the coordination and connection of competition policies, deepening cooperation in law enforcement in cross-border cartels, abuse of market dominance, and cross-border mergers and acquisitions anti-monopoly review, innovating regulatory mindsets and methods in areas such as the digital economy, continuing to enhance openness at an institutional level in the field of competition, jointly promoting the improvement of international competition rules should be taken so as to make greater contributions to promoting the healthy development of the world economy and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Zhang Gong, Minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation of China and Deputy Head of the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council, presided over the opening ceremony. Peng Qinghua, Secretary of the CPC Sichuan Provincial Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress, and He Rong, Executive Vice President of the Supreme People’s Court, and Grand Justice of the first rank attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. Alexandre Cordeiro Macedo, President of Administrative Council for Economic Defence of Brazil, Maxim Shaskolskiy, Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia, Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson of the Competition Commission of India and Tembinkosi Bonakele the President of Competition Commission of South Africa attended the conference by video and delivered speeches, sharing the results of competition regulatory practice and providing suggestions on deepening pragmatic cooperation in the field of competition. Gan Lin, Vice Minister of the State Administration for Market Regulation of the People’s Republic of China, Commissioner of the National Anti-Monopoly Bureau, and Secretary-General of the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council signed the “Chengdu Joint Statement” together with the heads of the BRICS competition agencies, which comprehensively recognized the positive results of all parties since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemics, in terms of strengthening communication and deepening cooperation, supporting the healthy development of enterprises, and facilitating the steady recovery of the global economy. The joint statement also put forward proposals for jointly promoting the improvement of competition rules, implementing competition policies, strengthening competition law enforcement, enhancing information sharing, and deepening exchanges of experiences.
Promoting post-pandemic economic growth, combating cross-border cartels, responding to new challenges of the digital economy, advancing market-oriented reforms, and implementing competition policies within economic globalization are the common tasks faced by competition agencies in all countries. 54 speakers from 13 countries, regions and international organizations had in-depths discussions of the above five topics, shared experiences and practices from the perspectives of competition law enforcement agencies, academia, enterprises, and law firms and exchanged views.
The State Administration for Market Regulation had four online bilateral exchanges with the other competition agencies of the BRICS countries and signed an anti‑monopoly cooperation memorandum with the competition agencies of Pakistan and the Eurasian Competition Commission to establish a normalized bilateral cooperation mechanism.
At the closing ceremony, on behalf of the BRICS competition agencies, the Russian Federal Anti‑Monopoly Service and the Competition Commission of India respectively released “Model Recommendations on the Application of Waiver of Confidentiality in the Process of Considering Global Mergers and Acquisitions” and “A Study on Competition Issues in the Automotive Sector” as the achievement documents.
In accordance with the rotation mechanism of the conference, the 8th BRICS International Competition Conference will be held in India in 2023. At the closing ceremony, the handover to the 8th BRICS International Competition Conference was conducted. A lantern symbolizing the unity and cooperation of the five BRICS countries was handed over to the Competition Commission of India online, which completed the transfer of the hosting rights of the conference.
A total of more than 2,000 representatives from 36 countries and regions and 7 international organizations attended the conference online or onsite, which represents a record high in participation.
1 The event information is collected and organized by Dr. Aston Zhong according to the press releases from relevant authorities. Aston Zhong is an assistant researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Science. Article translated by CPI.