The Competition Law Institutions in the BRICS Countries: Developing Better Institutional Models for the Protection of Market Competition
The Competition Law Institutions in the BRICS Countries: Developing Better Institutional Models for the Protection of Market Competition
Alexandr Svetlicinii 0
Juan-Juan Zhang 0
0 Faculty of Law, University of Macau, Avenida da Universidade , Taipa, 999078 Macao SAR , China
The paper provides a comparative overview of the BRICS competition regimes with a special focus on the institutional design of the national competition authorities in these countries. It analyses the institutional design of the competition law authorities in the BRICS countries by looking at their autonomy, resources (financial and human), enforcement powers, technical capacity and workload. The paper represents an academic contribution to the mutual learning and experience sharing in the field of competition law currently pursued by the competition authorities of the BRICS countries with the aim to strengthen their institutional and procedural competition enforcement frameworks.
BRICS; Competition law; National competition authority
1 There are several examples of the regional competition law frameworks established for the integrated
markets such as the European Union, the West African Economic and Monetary Union, the Caribbean
Community, the Eurasian Economic Union.
(WTO) foresaw a need to formulate global competition rules, but this plan was
subsequently abandoned (WTO 2004). As a result, the current global landscape of
competition law regimes can be best described by the terms “universal
proliferation” and “global convergence” (Jones 2000; Guzman 2004; Waked 2008;
Orlanski 2011). On that background, the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India,
China, South Africa) as a global economic and political alliance attracted significant
attention to the national competition law regimes of these countries. Unlike many
regional blocks, the BRICS countries lack geographic connection, shared language
and their history of cultural, economic, political and social developments reflect
many more differences than common features. Despite these differences the
significance of competition policy in these large globalized economies prompted a
certain degree of co-operation and experience sharing amongst them. This dialogue
was carried out at the biennial BRICS international competition conferences: in
Kazan (Russia) in 2009, in Beijing (China) in 2011, in New Delhi (India) in 2013,
and the most recent one in Durban (South Africa) in 2015. During their meeting in
Durban, the heads of the BRICS national competition authorities (NCAs) issued a
joint statement announcing their decision to conclude a memorandum of
understanding “in the field of competition policy to strengthen the cooperation
and coordination between the BRICS Competition Authorities”.2 The Memorandum
was concluded on 19 May 2016 in St Petersburg (Russia).
The American antitrust scholar William Kovacic underlined the significance of
studying BRICS experience in competition enforcement in the following way: “The
BRICS nations supply informative contexts in which to analyze the establishment of
competition policy systems at the national level and derive larger lessons about
superior approaches for other jurisdictions. They provide an opportunity for older
and newer competition systems to revisit basic questions about the institutional
foundations for successful implementation, the life cycle of antitrust regimes, and
the measurement of effectiveness” (Kovacic 2012: 324–325). Up till now, the
competition law practitioners have focused their attention primarily on the national
competition regimes of BRICS jurisdictions (Emch et al. 2012), while academics
have engaged in the comparative analysis of the enforcement practices in the
BRICS countries (Afrika and Bachmann 2011; Belikova 2016; Sharma 2016; Jenny
and Katsoulacos 2016). At the same time, little attention has been accorded to the
potential contribution of BRICS to the development of good governance structures
in the field of competition enforcement as well as their potential role as trend-setters
for the design of institutional frameworks for competition enforcement in the
emerging economies3 and new competition law regimes in general.
The institutional design and procedural tools employed by the NCAs around the
world have been on the radar of both policy makers and academic community alike.
2 Joint Statement of the Heads of BRICS Competition Authorities (13 November 2015), http://www.
3 In its 2016 edition of its World Development Indicators, the World Bank abandoned the terminological
distinction between the developed and developing countries in light of introducing Sustainable
Development Goals that have replaced the Millennium Development Goals. See http://blogs.worldbank.
For example, the Global Administrative Law Competition Project at the New York
University School of Law4 led by Fox and Trebilcock resulted in a comparative
study of the procedures applied by the NCAs in the major antitrust jurisdictions.5
The authors of the country studies have focused on the following aspects of the
NCAs’ activity: institutional design, mandate, due process and rights of defense,
agency performance, and judicial review (Fox and Trebilcock 2013). In 2009, the
Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola University of Chicago Law
School hosted an international symposium addressing the institutional design and
performance of the NCAs (Waller 2010). The OECD Competition Committee held
roundtable events focused on institutional design of NCAs in 2003, 2014 and 2015,
where the stakeholders discussed goals, functions and organization of the NCAs
worldwide (Jenny 2016).
Despite the development of the best practices on various matters of
competition law and policy (OECD 2005; ICN 2016; Alemani et al. 2016),
the ultimate structure and procedural tools employed by the NCA have been
framed primarily by the domestic circumstances. As remarked by Eleanor M.
Fox in her paper on antitrust and institutional design, “context is a major
determinant of institutional design” (Fox 2010: 488). Antitrust scholar Michal
Gal argued that like the legal transplants of substantive and procedural rules, the
institutional design that is optimal for one jurisdiction does not guarantee the
achievement of the same beneficial results in another as it may not be
wellsuited for the special characteristics of the transplanting jurisdiction (Gal 2010:
419). For example, although China has adopted EU-modelled competition rules,
the differences in the institutional design of competition enforcement authorities
are significant and the comparative competition law scholars have argued that
the value learning from the European experiences will be rather limited (Cengiz
The present paper aims to contribute to the above mentioned academic discourse
on the institutional design of NCAs by addressing the specifics of the NCAs in the
BRICS countries. This comparative review should also aid to the mutual learning
and experience sharing in the field of competition law currently pursued by the
competition authorities in the BRICS countries with the aim to strengthen their
institutional and procedural competition enforcement frameworks. The paper is
structured as follows. Section 2 introduces the historical background that led to the
establishment and continuous reform of the competition law enforcement
institutions in the BRICS countries. Section 3 addresses the current institutional structures
developed by the BRICS countries for the enforcement of their national competition
law regimes. Finally, Sect. 4 analyses the enforcement powers and technical
capacity of the NCAs of the BRICS countries to provide a better understanding of
their enforcement performances.
4 Global Administrative Law Project, http://www.iilj.org/gal/.
5 When addressing the BRICS countries, the project covered only China and South Africa due to the fact
that Brazil was undergoing a substantial reform of its competition legislation, while Indian antitrust had
seen virtually no enforcement.
2 Historical Development of the Competition Law Institutions in the BRICS Countries
In 1962, Brazil adopted its first anti-monopoly law6 and established its NCA—the
Administrative Council for Economic Defense (known by its Portuguese acronym
CADE (Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica), which initially was not
complemented by a consistent competition policy and effective enforcement powers
(Casagrande 2014: 2). In 1994, the new Federal Law No. 8,158 reformed the
competition enforcement system, which now included the Secretariat of Economic
Law within the Ministry of Justice (SDE—Secretaria de Direito Econômico), the
Secretariat of Economic Monitoring within the Ministry of Finance (SEAE—
Secretaria de Acompanhamento Econômico), and the CADE.7 These three agencies
with overlapping enforcement responsibilities created significant backlogs in
merger review and anti-competitive conduct investigations (Zarzur et al. 2015: 9),
which prompted the calls for further reform.
The current Brazilian competition protection system entered into force on 30 May
2012 when the Brazilian Competition Act8 consolidated the institutional structures for
competition enforcement (Botta 2010; Schaeffer et al. 2011a, b; Moraes 2011). It was
regarded as “a historical and decisive milestone for the improvement of the Brazilian
competition policy” (De Carvalho 2012: 3). The three former institutions were reduced
to two by integrating SDE into the new CADE with streamlined decision-making
processes, significantly reduced the backlog in investigations, and added a number of
notable organizational improvements. The reformed CADE has been praised for
“leading the way to faster, more efficient and more effective enforcement and the
consolidation of a competition culture in Brazil” (De Carvalho 2015: 40). The CADE is
currently composed of the General Superintendence, with one General Superintendent
and two Deputy Superintendents9; the Administrative Tribunal for Economic Defense, with a president and six commissioners10; the Department of Economic Studies.11
2.2 Russian Federation
The anti-monopoly system of the Russian Federation was set up in early 1990s on the
background of the country’s economic transition. In July 1990, the State Committee
for Anti-Monopoly Policy and the Support of New Economic Structures was
established,12 which became the first anti-monopoly enforcement authority. In 1997,
6 Federal Law No. 4,137 of 10 September 1962.
7 Federal Law No. 8,884 of 11 June 1994.
8 Federal Law No. 12,529 of 29 May 2012.
9 Art. 12, Federal Law No. 12,529 of 29 May 2012. 10 Id., Art. 6. 11 Id., Art. 5.
the Committee was renamed into the State Anti-Monopoly Committee.13 In 1998, the
functions of the State Anti-Monopoly Committee were transferred to the Ministry for
Anti-Monopoly Policy and Support to Entrepreneurship, which was also abolished in
March 2004 and the current Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (known by its Russian
acronym FAS—Federal’naya Antimonopol’naya Sluzhba) was established.14
The new Federal Law on Protection of Competition adopted on 26 July 200615
was considered “groundbreaking because it introduced many new concepts and
institutions, as well as prior antitrust rules and procedural issues subjected to a
substantial revision” (Artemyev 2012: 57). Currently the FAS includes 30
departments16 and 85 territorial offices (FAS 2014b), as well as the
crossdepartmental public consultation committee and expert committee (FAS 2015).
In 1969, India adopted its first anti-monopoly law: the Monopolies and Restrictive
Trade Practices Act (MRTP Act),17 which established the MRTP Commission which
ceased to exist in 2009. The current Competition Act was adopted by the Indian
legislature in December 200218 and in the following year, the Competition
Commission of India (CCI) was established. In 2007, the Competition (Amendment)
Act19 further specified the structure of the CCI, the requisite qualifications and
enforcement powers of its officers. The CCI was effectively established in 2009. The
CCI consists of a Chairperson and six commissioners. Additionally, the Office of the
Secretary and the Director General was created to assist the Chairperson.20 As a newly
established institution, the CCI recognized the need for capacity building: “the CCI
currently faces the need to accumulate this understanding, as well as to ensure that such
knowledge is not restricted to just a few individuals” (Gaur 2012: 103).
China was the latest country to establish its anti-monopoly regime among the
BRICS—the current Anti-Monopoly Law was promulgated on 30 August 2007.21
13 On perfection of the structure of the federal bodies of executive power, the Decree of the President of
the Russian Federation No. 249, 17 March 1997.
14 On the System and Structure of the Federal Executive Authorities, the Decree of President of the
Russian Federation No. 314, 9 March 2004.
15 Federal Law No. 135-FZ of 26 July 2006.
16 See FAS structure at http://en.fas.gov.ru/about/structure/.
17 Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, Act No. 54 of 1969.
18 Competition Act 2002, Act No. 12 of 2003, 13 January 2003, available at: http://www.cci.gov.in/sites/
19 The Competition (Amendment) Act, Act No. 39 of 2007, 10 September 2007, available at: http://dpal.
20 Available at: http://www.cci.gov.in/organogram.
21 Anti-Monopoly Law of the People’s Republic of China, Order No. 68 of the President of the People’s
Republic of China, Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, 30 August 2007.
The Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council, in charge of organizing,
coordinating and guiding anti-monopoly work, assigned competition enforcement
tasks to the following three agencies: the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM),22 the
National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)23 and the State Admin
istration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).24 Subsequently, each of the above
mentioned agencies designated a specialized bureau responsible for the enforcement
of anti-monopoly law. The above mentioned anti-monopoly authorities have
multitier hierarchical structures that spread from the central offices in Beijing down to
provincial and city offices. This multi-tier and multi-agency organizational structure
has led to various conflicts and inconsistencies in the enforcement of
AntiMonopoly Law (Round and Lin 2012: 2).
2.5 South Africa
Among the BRICS nations, South Africa was the first country to establish its
national competition law regime, which should be traced back to 1955 Regulation of
Monopolistic Conditions Act.25 According to the 1955 Act, the Board of Trade and
Industry was charged with investigating conduct, recommending remedies, and
negotiating and supervising compliance. However, the Board had no independent
powers, neither of investigation nor relief. The decision-making was handled by the
Minister of Trade and Industry. The legal remedies were prospective only which
included orders to withdraw from restrictive agreements and to correct their
consequences (Wise 2004: 11). In 1979, the Maintenance and Promotion of
Competition Act26 was adopted, which created the Competition Board appointed by
the Minister of Trade and Industry with the investigation powers exercised on its
In 1998, the third competition law of South Africa entered into force—the
Competition Act,27 which was substantially revised in 2009. The Competition Act
set up three institutions: the Competition Commission, the Competition Tribunal
and the Competition Appeal Court to be directly involved in its enforcement. The
Competition Commission of South Africa consists of one commissioner and two
deputy commissioners28 with eight administrative units.29 South Africa adopted a
bifurcated agency model, where the specialized agency carries out investigative
functions and brings the case before the specialized tribunal for adjudication (Davis
and Granville 2013). The South African judiciary has continuously moved away
from the formalistic interpretation of the Competitions Act and recognized the
Table 1 Comparison of the institutional models of NCAs in the BRICS
transformative role of the competition policy in ensuring equitable participation of
all sections of population in the economic activity (Ramburuth 2012).
3 Institutional Design of the National Competition Authorities in the BRICS Countries
For the purpose of simplification, the following institutional models for competition
enforcement can be generally distinguished: bifurcated judicial model (NCA with
investigative function), bifurcated agency model (NCA with investigative and
enforcement functions), integrated agency model (NCA with investigative,
enforcement, adjudication functions) (Trebilcock and Iacobucci 2010: 459–464).
Kovacic and Hyman distinguish several models of the institutional designs of the
national competition enforcement authorities according to different factors. One of
such factors is autonomy, which allows to distinguish the Stand-Alone Agency and
Subsidiary Agency models. Stand-Alone Agency is a self-contained body that has
greater ability to establish a distinct identity and brand, and also to respond to
changing circumstances without the need to “run things up the ladder” or to
coordinate policy with other units in the organization of which it is a part (Kovacic
and Hyman 2012: 531). Subsidiary Agency refers to the competition enforcement
agency positioned within a larger entity.
Another distinction is based on the number of the enforcement agencies. Kovacic
and Hyman distinguished One Agency and Many Agencies models. The former
means to give a single public institution an exclusive enforcement authority while
the latter refers to two or more public enforcement agencies at the same level of
government or multiple levels of government (i.e. central and local) (Kovacic and
Hyman 2012: 532). Table 1 applies this categorization to the competition authorities
in the BRICS countries.
The NCA of Brazil is formed by one General Superintendent and two Deputy
Superintendents. The General Superintendent is appointed by the President of the
Republic, after being approved by the Federal Senate for a 2-year term with the
possibility of re-appointment. The removal of these officers may only occur by
means of a decision made by the Federal Senate upon request of the President of the
Republic, in view of an undisputable criminal conviction for intentional crimes, or
disciplinary proceedings as determined by law.30 According to the new Competition
Act of Brazil, CADE’s own revenues are comprised of: (1) procedural fees; (2) the
remuneration for services; (3) the funds originating from the Government; (4) other
entities or organizations; (5) donations and grants, etc.; (6) the sale or rental of real
estate and personal property; (7) the sale of publications, technical materials, data
and information; (8) the sums collected from applications from the financial market;
(9) any other income such as fines.31 Thus, besides the funds from the government,
the CADE has access to other financial resources, which can enhance its financial
independence from the executive.
The Russian FAS stands out in the governmental hierarchy as it combines the
functions of a ministry and of a service (Sushkevich 2004: 1). Its head is appointed
by an act of the Government and reports to the Prime Minister, as well as to the
Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility for the subject area and to the
Government as a whole (OECD 2013: 90). For that reason, the authority of the
Russian anti-monopoly enforcement authority is very high. The FAS’s position as a
part of the Government provides it with the ability to comment on all draft laws and
draft acts of the Government, as well as to participate in policy development.
According to the FAS, its ability to participate in these processes is one of its most
important tools to promote and protect competition (OECD 2013: 90). Although
Russian competition enforcement authority has central offices and territorial
branches, the latter are not easily influenced by other institutions and local
governments because of their independent personnel and finances. The expenses of
the central and territorial offices of the FAS are covered from the federal budget
(FAS 2012: 39, 2013: 32, 2014a, b: 42, 2015: 29).
The Indian CCI consists of a Chairperson and between two and six other
commissioners appointed by the Central Government.32 The Central Government
may, by order, remove the Chairperson or any other commissioner from office
according to legal causes.33 The finances of the CCI are provided by the Central
Government,34 therefore, the budget proposal and financial report should be
submitted to the Central Government.35
In China, the heads of the MOFCOM, the NDRC and the SAIC are appointed by
the National People’s Congress upon nomination by the Prime Minister.36 Although
the financial resources of the Chinese anti-monopoly enforcement authorities may
come from a variety of sources, the government’s financial allocation accounted for
94.02% of their respective budgets in 2015 (MOFCOM 2016; NDRC 2016; SAIC
2016) (Table 2).
Table 2 The share of the government’s financial contribution to the budget of Chinese anti-monopoly
enforcement authorities (2015)
Percentage of government’s
funds in the total budget (%)
Despite the fact that the MOFCOM, the NDRC, and the SAIC belong to the
rank of ministries, the competition enforcement tasks are performed by
subordinate bureaus, resulting in the lower administrative rank. Because of the
vast territory and large population, the competition enforcement is also
organized through the local branches of the specified agencies. This has led to
a certain degree of dependence on the local governments in aspects of finance
and personnel affairs. The distribution of the enforcement tasks between several
institutions and the current status of China’s administrative law and regulatory
practices were mentioned among the major reasons for lower effectiveness of
antitrust enforcement in that jurisdiction (Su and Wang 2013; Gao and Wan
2013). As noted by Chinese antitrust practitioners, although the procedural
fairness of the public administrative enforcement may not be aligned with the
standards adopted in the Western jurisdictions, the Chinese NCAs comply with
the current system of China’s administrative law (Deng 2016).
According to the 1998 Competition Act, the Competition Commission of South
Africa is independent and subject only to the Constitution, and the law must be
impartial and perform its functions without fear, favor or prejudice. Public
authorities must assist the Competition Commission to maintain its independence
and impartiality, and to effectively carry out its powers and duties.37 In terms of its
budget, the Competition Commission is financed by: (1) funds that are appropriated
by the Parliament for the Commission; (2) fees payable to the Commission under
Competition Act; (3) income derived by the Commission from its investment and
deposit of surplus funds; (4) funds received from other sources.38 The
Commissioner is the highest administrative officer of the Competition Commission,
appointed by the Minister for a term of 5 years.39 Supported by the large amount of
merger fees, the Commission is able to recruit a substantial number of new staff
(OECD 2003: 38).
Table 3 Powers of NCAs in the BRICS
4 Enforcement Powers and Technical Capacity of the National Competition Authorities in the BRICS Countries
Although different from country to country, the powers of the NCA normally
include the following: (1) the investigation powers (the anti-monopoly enforcement
authority has the power to investigate whether the conduct of market participants is
in compliance with competition law); (2) the review and approval powers (this
mainly concerns the review of agreements (or decisions) concerning economic
concentrations (merger control); (3) the power to impose administrative penalties;
(4) the power to impose compulsory administrative measures; (5) the power of
rulemaking (the NCA has the power to enact administrative rules in the scope of the
provisions of competition law to guide and promote the market competition).
The competition enforcement authorities of the BRICS countries all have the basic
functions mentioned above. Nevertheless, the extent of competences is different. The
table below shows the extent of competence of Russian FAS and Chinese
antimonopoly authorities is the widest, which is characteristic of the national economy
with substantial state involvement. All competition enforcement authorities of the
BRICS countries have the power to prohibit and prosecute anti-competitive
agreements, abuse of dominant position and to enforce merger control (Table 3).
As transition economies, both Russia and China are facing the difficult task of
prohibiting the abuse of administrative power that restricts market competition. For
example, the current Russian Federal Law on Protection of Competition prohibits
acts, actions (inactions), agreements, concerted practices of the federal executive
authorities, public authorities of the subjects of the Russian Federation, bodies of
local self-government, other bodies or organizations exercising the functions of the
above-mentioned bodies, as well as public extra-budgetary funds and the Central
Bank of the Russian Federation that restrict competition.40 Similarly, China’s Anti
Monopoly Law prohibits abuses of administrative power to eliminate or restrict
competition: imposing discriminative charges and/or technical requirements,
abusing administrative licensing powers, setting barriers for commodities outside
certain geographic markets, etc.41
40 Chapter 3, Federal Law No. 135-FZ.
41 Anti-Monopoly Law, Chapter V.
Table 4 NCAs in the BRICS (2014) Source: GCR (2015), CCI 2015, CADE (2015), FAS (2014a, 2015)
320.25 (MOFCOM 2014; SAIC 2015; NDRC 2014)b
a It was not possible to obtain official statistics of staff numbers of the anti-monopoly enforcement
authorities in China. The official press service has reported that there are less than 100 staff in the three
enforcement authorities, among which only half of them are involved in anti-monopoly work on a
fulltime basis. See press release available at: http://www.china.com.cn/zhibo/2014-09/11/content_33487367.
htm. Accessed 10 December 2016
b The total budget of the three anti-monopoly authorities combined is large, but in fact the amount to be
spent on anti-monopoly enforcement is relatively small. Overall, there are 45 departments in MOFCOM,
30 in SAIC and 28 in NDRC, while the anti-monopoly enforcement work is carried out by a single
department in each of the above mentioned agencies. There is no special illustration on the budget
concerning anti-monopoly affairs in the budget records of the three anti-monopoly enforcement
authorities, which have multiple regulatory and supervisory functions besides anti-monopoly enforcement
c According to unofficial and incomplete statistics, in 2014, the merger control cases accepted by
MOFOM were 246; cases accepted by NRDC were 22, among which the anti-competitive agreements
were investigated in 19 cases; abuse of the dominant market position in two cases, abuse of the
administrative power in one case; cases accepted by SAIC were 17, among which anti-competitive
agreements were concerned in four cases; abuse of the dominant market position were investigated in 13
cases. Available at: http://www.weibo.com/p/1,001,603,808,585,187,522,510?from=page_100505_
Considering the relationship between the closely related unfair competition and
anti-monopoly enforcement, there are three institutional models in the BRICS
countries. The first model is single anti-monopoly enforcement model, where the
anti-monopoly legislation does not contain unfair competition rules and the
competition authority is not charged with their enforcement. Brazil, India and South
Africa have adopted this model. The second model is adopted by the Russian
Federation, where the FAS is the enforcement authority for both anti-monopoly and
unfair competition rules. China has created the third model. Although China has,
respectively, regulated the anti-monopoly and unfair competition rules in two
distinct laws, the enforcement authority has been consolidated and the SAIC is
responsible for the enforcement of both sets of rules.
The assessment of the technical capacity of the BRICS competition authorities
can take into account a variety of factors including the annual budget, the number of
personnel and their workload. Table 4 below reveals a great disparity in the financial
and human resources available for the competition enforcement authorities in the
BRICS countries. Russian FAS appears as the largest competition authority amongst
the BRICS countries both in terms of budget and staff. This is largely due to the
numerous regulatory tasks carried out by this agency as well as the centralized
funding of its 85 territorial offices. South Africa, the smallest of the BRICS nations,
allocates more financial resources and personnel to its competition authority than
India. Brazil’s competition authority, on the other hand, with a relatively modest
Non-administrative Percentage of
nonstaff (case handlers) administrative staff
(case handlers) (%)
budget employs more people than India, China or South Africa. The number of
personnel is in direct correlation with the workload of the respective competition
enforcement agencies: Russian and Brazilian competition authorities handle more
cases per person than India, China, or South Africa.
A more detailed examination of the personnel structure in the BRICS competition
enforcement authorities indicates that the number of officials dealing with the
competition law cases directly (case handlers) is almost equal to the number of
administrative staff employed by the respective agencies. Brazil is a notable exception,
its case handlers account only for 26% of the total number of personnel. Nevertheless,
as shown above, the Brazilian competition authority with relatively modest funding
and low percentage of case handlers has managed to investigate more cases than its
counterparts in India, China and South Africa (Table 5).
The number of personnel available for competition enforcement activities affects not
only the number of cases but also their duration. For example, the following
table illustrates the average workload of the merger control officers in the BRICS
competition authorities, as well as the average length of the in-depth merger review
procedures. The Russian FAS employs the largest number of case handlers—1777. As a
result, with a relatively modest workload per officer the Russian FAS achieves the fastest
rate of merger review amongst the BRICS countries. Despite the highest workload per
officer, the Brazilian competition authority managed to achieve an average of 77-day
merger review process thus surpassing India, China and South Africa in this respect. The
Chinese MOFCOM, which employs more officers than Brazil, India and South Africa
lags behind in the efficiency, which makes its average length of in-depth merger review
the longest amongst the BRICS countries—300 days (Table 6).
5 Concluding Remarks
The above overview of the institutional structures established in the BRICS
countries for the protection of market competition reveals a substantial diversity in
the institutional design, autonomy, competence and technical capacity of the
competition authorities. Brazil and South Africa have established their competition
regimes relatively early and have passed a long way in reforming and strengthening
their institutional structures. In Brazil, the competition authorities have been
reorganized and consolidated several times, while in South Africa the Competition
Commission has gradually acquired institutional autonomy and enforcement
powers. In Russia, the competition authority has been elevated to the rank of
ministry and accorded substantial resources and manpower to exercise a multitude
of competition protection and regulatory tasks. In India, the CCI has started its
enforcement activity relatively recently and it has not yet acquired the technical
capacity and resources required for a more significant workload. China has adopted
a unique multiple agency model with the three agencies handling specific forms of
anti-competitive conduct under the Anti-Monopoly Law.
As suggested by William Kovacic, the diversity of the BRICS countries in the field of
competition law enforcement provides an opportunity for the emerging competition law
regimes to revisit basic questions of the institutional foundations and implementation of
their national competition laws (Kovacic 2012: 35). Therefore, the viability of the
institutional structures for competition enforcement in the BRICS countries as well as
their ability to cooperate, share enforcement experience and expertise will be decisive
factors in the BRICS countries’ ability to develop their own “BRICS way” of dealing
with competition law enforcement. The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding
provides a formal ground for further development of inter-institutional cooperation of
the NCAs of the BRICS countries. It remains to be seen whether and how this
cooperation could reinforce the national competition regimes of the BRICS economies
in line with the declared objectives to foster inter-BRICS trade and investments.
Acknowledgements The authors acknowledge the support from the University of Macau Multi-Year
Research Grant MYRG2015-00071-FLL “EU competition rules as legal transplants in the domestic legal
orders: policy tools for market regulation and protection of competition”. The authors are thankful to
Yijia Jing, Jose Antonio Puppim de Oliveira, and participants of the International Symposium on
Development and Governance in the BRICS hosted at Fudan University in Shanghai (China) on 24–25
September 2016 for their valuable comments on the earlier draft of this paper.
Alexandr Svetlicinii is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Macau where he
also serves as the Associate Programme Coordinator for the Master of International Business Law.
Research interests include: comparative competition law, comparative private law, international trade law
and alternative dispute resolution.
Juan-Juan Zhang is currently a PhD candidate at University of Macau, Faculty of Law. Ms. Zhang also
holds a position of lecturer at the Faculty of Law and of researcher at the Centre of Latin American
Studies at the Southwest University of Science and Technology (China).
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