On July 3 of this year, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, signed the law “On Competition” in a new edition (No. LRU-850 of 03.07.2023). This law was adopted in order to regulate relations in the field of competition, related to the control and suppression of actions that lead or may lead to restriction of competition in financial or commodity markets, as well as infringement of the rights and legitimate interests of consumers in a competitive or natural monopoly environment.
The main directions of the state policy on competition are the following:
- Protection of competition, prevention and termination of anti-competitive actions;
- Ensuring the freedom of economic activity of participants in commodity and financial markets and the unbound movement of goods;
- Formation of a competitive environment in the spheres of activity of subjects of natural monopolies;
- Formation of intolerance to any anti-corruption actions in society;
- Establishment of equal conditions for participants in commodity and financial markets and reduction of state participation in the economy;
- Increasing the responsibility of executive authorities for improving and developing the competitive environment.
In connection with the above directions, the law defines:
- Some powers of the antimonopoly authority (state authorized body), which is the Committee for the Development of Competition and Consumer Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan, concerning the assessment of the impact of regulatory legal acts and their projects on competition, as well as its other rights, powers and interaction with other state bodies.
- The concept of antimonopoly compliance (a system of internal organizational procedures for ensuring the promotion of activities to the requirements of competition law, identifying risks of their violation and preventing these risks).As well as a list of organizations in which antimonopoly compliance is mandatory. These include :
- legal entities whose average annual revenue from the sale of commodities over the past 3 years exceeds one hundred thousandfold the size of the BUV (basic unit value) and in whose authorized capital 50% or more belongs to a legal entity, the state share in the authorized fund of which is 50% or more;
- legal entities whose average annual revenue from the sale of commodities over the past 3 years exceeds one hundred thousandfold the size of the BUV (basic unit value) and in whose authorized capital 50% or more belongs to the state.
- Criteria of dominant position, and now they also include companies with a share in a certain market of at least 40% and annual revenue of more than thirty thousandfold BUV, as well as subjects of a natural monopoly.
- Excellent bargaining power, which makes it possible for an economic entity or a group of parties that do not have a dominant position to unilaterally influence the determination of the terms of the transaction, the territory and the price of the sale of commodities.
- Prohibition of anticompetitive actions, namely: prohibition of abuse of a dominant position and superior bargaining power; prohibition of anti-corruption agreements and coordinated actions; prohibition of unfair competition; prohibition of the adoption of acts and the commission of actions (inaction) by republican executive authorities and other organizations, associations of legal entities that restrict competition; restriction of the impact from enterprises with the participation of the state, on competition.
- Criteria of transactions of economic concentration (accession, merger, transformation, etc.), requiring the consent of the Committee for the Development of Competition and Consumer Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan (State authorized body):
- The total book value of assets or revenue from the sale of commodities for the last year of the participants of the transaction — more than 500 thousandfold size of the BUV (previously 100 thousandfold size of the BUV);
- The total book value of assets or annual revenue from the sale of commodities of one of the participants — more than 250 thousandfold size of the BUV.
- Consequences of violation of competition legislation (financial sanctions), the procedure for compensation of damage caused, as well as the procedure for considering cases of violation of competition legislation.
- Exemption from liability for anticompetitive agreements and coordinated actions. An individual, an economic entity, an association of legal entities that is a participant in an anticompetitive agreement or a coordinated action, the first to voluntarily apply to the authorized state body with an application for its commission, is released from administrative and financial responsibility, respectively. (The law comes into force three months from the date of publication, i.e. from October 4).