FAS didn’t discover price-fixing on food markets of Russia

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The Federal Antimonopoly Service in Russia made a decision that the price increase was due to objective economic factors.

FAS didn’t discover price-fixing on the food markets of Russia despite the food sanctions imposed in August 2014 that led to some products deficit. That information was given by Andrey Tenishev, the Head of the FAS office on the fight against international cartels.

“We didn’t discover any price-fixing on the county’s market. And from the economic point of view the price increase is logical: the market is competitive and it’s hardly possible to fix the same prices, considering the state’s size,” he considers.

FAS has been making research from September 2014, watching the markets with a great number of complaints. Producers of poultry meat, pork, beef and grain were examined. And then the Service made a decision that the price increase was due to some objective economic factors.

“The main reason for that was the rise in the dollar. The production of many Russian products depends on foreign currency (package, equipment, animal feed),” explained Alexander Kinyov, the Deputy Head of FAS.

“It’s not time for…”

According to Kinyov, at the level of regions and municipalities there was discovered price-fixing – on the markets of bread, cheese, buckwheat, milk and sugar sales.

FAS opened about 100 criminal cases upon abuse of dominance or upon submarkets price-fixing within municipal entities or subjects of Russia. Sanctions for violations of anti-monopoly law may reach billions of rubles.

FAS prevented the market actors from cartel agreements and “the usage of the difficult economic situation in Russia” to get some additional benefits. “It’s not the time for striving to get money in such a way,” warned Kinyov.

FAS didn’t give the information about further food market examinations, as they plan to do them without notice.

Fewer complaints

The number of complaints (registered by the FAS hot line) about the price increase dropped by one third at the beginning of February 2015 in comparison with the end of January. Thus, on February 2-9 they received 654 complaints from citizens and businessmen. And in the last week of January its number exceeded 1,000.

According to Anna Mirochinenko, the Head of FAS Agro-Industrial Complex Administration, the majority of complaints, as before, was about the price increase of vegetables and fruit (180 addresses), milk and dairy products (150) and sugar (78).

Mirochinenko adds that now the market of sugar and milk is “under FAS’s close attention”. They conduct examinations in many regions of Russia.

Text and pictures by TASS