China’s Ministry of Commerce recently announced that it opened four investigations during 2012 into suspected non-compliance with China’s merger control notification procedures. The outcomes of the investigations are still uncertain, but the actions clearly show increased efforts to ensure compliance through enforcement of the law. Although the number of investigations was fairly low in 2012, the four cases are part of a new, larger trend of enforcement that began with a 2011 announcement to prioritize these investigations and was reinforced by new interim measures aimed at specifying compliance obligations and enforcement procedures. Multinational companies with operations in China are encouraged to increase compliance efforts in this area in order to avoid becoming targets of this new enforcement priority.
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