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29 January 2009

Igor Svechkar Participating in Presentation of International Review of Competition Law and Policy in Ukraine

On 27 January 2009 Igor Svechkar, a partner with Asters law firm and Head of the Competition Law Committee of the Ukrainian Bar Association, participated in a peer review of the development and application of competition law and policy in Ukraine carried by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD.

The presentation was held in the offices of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) and was attended by Bernard Philips, head of the OECD competition unit, Jay C. Shaffer, consultant to the OECD, Claudia Fischer, head of the European Commission international programs in Ukraine, Oleksandr Melnychenko, interim chairman of the AMCU, Iryna Akimova, deputy chairperson of the economic policies committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, officials representing ministries and other authorities, scholars, and lawyers.

Notwithstanding a number of flaws identified, the general assessment by the OECD experts of the legal framework and the AMCU efforts was generally positive. Based on the assessment, the OECD issued a number of recommendations to the AMCU and Ukrainian government aimed at further development of competitive environment and legal framework in Ukraine. The experts emphasized the need for effective control system over non-competitive government aid; improved rules for the economic concentration enforcement; a system of independent regulators for natural monopolies; criminal liability for cartels, etc.

The Asters competition law practice group has grown over a role of casual witness to the review of a well-established international organization and stood up as its acting counsel on competition law issues in Ukraine. Commenting on the significance of the study for the development of Ukrainian competition law Igor Svechkar said, "The OECD review is extremely important, since it provides an independent and unbiased assessment of the competition law status in Ukraine against international standards. Particularly pleasing to us was that the AMCU and the relevant committee of the Verkhovna Rada accepted most of the OECD conclusions. Thus we are pinning our hopes to positive changes to occur, some of which have, by the way, already materialized in the latest amendments to the law "On Protection of Economic Competition" drafted with the AMCU input".

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Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international organization set up in 1961, uniting thirty member countries for the purpose of coordination of economic policies of the OECD members and aid programs designed for the developing countries. The organization has its headquarters in Paris, France.

The OECD reviews provide a vehicle for the assessment of a country's progress on the path to market-based economy, its stated loyalty to common values founded upon free enterprise. Beginning from 1998, the OECD has reviewed competition frameworks and policies in 30 of the world, particularly in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Korea, South Africa, etc. Ukraine needed such review for the AMCU to obtain the status of observer on the OECD Competition Committee.

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