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Georgia

Development of a Guidebook for Economic Agents (GE0060)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: LELP–Competition Agency

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Legislation & Regulation, Private Sector, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Georgia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Development of a Guidebook for Economic Agents; Economic agents who apply only the Law on Competition and the normative acts based on it do not have relevant information about the application of legislation on competition. In addition, the society does not have sufficient information on the newly established Competition Agency. The communication between the control organ and relevant business entity is necessary so that an economic agent can be informed on their commitments derived from the Law on Competition. As a result, the work of the agency will become more efficient, and entities on their part, will take relevant measures to minimize activities interfering the free competitive market. The commitment serves to improve transparency and accountability principles of the public administration. The Competition Agency will develop a guidebook/brochure, the main topic of which will be problematic and urgent issues of the Law on Competition and key action principles of the agency. The guidebook will be distributed both in a print version and electronically to inform businesses and society about the competition matters. Date ofImplementation: 2016-2017; Issues to be Addressed: Economic agents do not have enough information on application of the Law on Competition that complicates the process of law execution. Main Objective: Increase awareness of economic agents and simplify the execution of the Law on Competition.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

19. Development of a guidebook for economic agents

Commitment Text:

Economic agents who apply only the Law on Competition and the normative acts based on it do not have relevant information about the application of legislation on competition. In addition, the society does not have sufficient information on the newly established Competition Agency.

The communication between the control organ and relevant business entity is necessary so that an economic agent can be informed on their commitments derived from the Law on Competition. As a result, the work of the agency will become more efficient, and entities on their part, will take relevant measures to minimize activities interfering the free competitive market.

The commitment serves to improve transparency and accountability principles of the public administration. The Competition Agency will develop a guidebook/brochure, the main topic of which will be problematic and urgent issues of the Law on Competition and key action principles of the agency. The guidebook will be distributed both in a print version and electronically to inform businesses and society about the competition matters.

Responsible institution: LEPL – Competition Agency

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: September 2016 End date: December 2017

Commitment Aim:

To prevent violation of the Law of Georgia on Competition adopted in March 2014, and thus, to maintain competition among market players, the LEPL Competition Agency committed to instruct economic agents on regulations by drafting a Guidebook for Economic Agents. The commitment consisted of two main steps: 1) developing the Guidebook; and 2) disseminating information regarding the document. The Guidebook would serve as instruction manual for the private sector on existing norms, by translating legal norms into more accessible and understandable language, with the aim to improve compliance with the Competition Law.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

By the midterm, the commitment was substantially implemented. The Competition Agency adopted the Guidebook for Economic Agents in May 2017, which defines what an economic agent is, discusses possible scenarios where a market player might violate competition standards (e.g., abuse of a dominant position in the market, predatory pricing, price discrimination, and/or refusal to supply), and referred to rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The Agency had yet to conduct dissemination activities. According to Agency representatives, awareness-raising activities were planned for the Fall of 2017, including a conference for the business community where the Guidebook would be disseminated. For more information, please see the 2016–2017 IRM midterm report. [93] 

End of term: Complete

After the midterm, the Competition Agency met with various stakeholders to disseminate the Guidebook including media representatives in the Summer of 2017 (25 participants in total), business representatives in the Fall of 2017, and events like the International Competition Conference and World Competition Day. The Agency also trained 30 judges three courts and discussed the Guidebook with these judges. Hard copies of the Guidebook were distributed during Competition Agency events, as well as electronic copies specifically directed at individuals actively working in market competition. [94] The Agency planned another meeting with journalists in December 2018. [95]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

The Guidebook for Economic Agents was adopted and disseminated as planned, clarifying violations of competition standards. The Guidebook defines what an economic agent is and describes various scenarios which might constitute a violation of competition standards. Theoretical discussion is supplemented by rulings of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The Guidebook is illustrated and easy to understand for an untrained reader.

The improvement in terms of enhancing access to information is marginal. According to a representative of an insurance company actively collaborating with the Competition Agency, explaining provisions in the Law on Competition to non-lawyers is challenging, which is why he and colleagues in other insurance firms find the Guidebook to be helpful in explaining regulations to their clients. Based on his feedback, all active insurance firms employ the Guidebook in their daily work. [96] Similarly, the Chair of the Commercial and Competition Law Committee of the Georgian Bar Association positively assesses the Guidebook, and stresses that the document was helpful in designing training modules for lawyers. While lawyers have no difficulty interpreting the Law on Competition, the simplicity of the Guidebook and its accompanying visualizations serve as a backbone for their training on competition regulations aimed at raising awareness regarding the existing legal framework.

Carried Forward?

The commitment was not carried into the new Action Plan 2018−2019.

[93] Lasha Gogidze and Tamar Gzirishvili, Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM): Georgia Progress Report 2016-2017 (OGP, 30 Apr. 2018), https://bit.ly/2NIr097.

[94] Mari Nikabidze (Chair of the Commercial and Competition Law Committee of the Georgian Bar Association), phone interview with IRM researcher, 28 Dec. 2018.

[95] Sopo Momtselidze (Head of the Legal Department, Competition Agency) interview with IRM researcher, 10 Oct. 2018.

[96] Vakhtang Shurghaia (Head of the Legal Department at the Insurance Company “Unison” and Executive Secretary at the NNLE “Insurance Network”), phone interview with IRM researcher, 26 Dec. 2018.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership