The Chinese government announced on March 13, 2018, that it will consolidate the duties of three competition agencies into a new government agency to handle all antitrust matters. While it is too early to tell how this reorganization will impact China’s review of transactions and conduct cases, we believe that this change could lead to greater consistency and potentially more experienced attorneys reviewing competition matters.
McDermott Will & Emery has released the latest China Law Alert: Focus on Competition, which provides insight on current issues surrounding cross-border antitrust and transactional issues.
China’s New Merger Control Regime Makes Major Progress in Its First Three Years
It is now just more than three years since China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) was introduced. Compared with the well-established practices of US antitrust and EU competition authorities, AML enforcement is still in its infancy. However, China’s AML regulators, especially the authority in charge of merger control, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), has moved quickly to make its mark on international business. Now, most large, cross-border mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures must also successfully pass the rigors of review by MOFCOM as well as the European Commission and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and/or Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Read the full article here.
NDRC and SAIC’s Actions in 2011 and Prospects in 2012
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) are the two authorities in charge of investigation and supervision of “monopoly” agreements and abuses of dominant market position. NDRC focuses on price-related cases while SAIC takes care of non-price related violations of the law. Compared to MOFCOM, which is responsible for merger control, NDRC and SAIC have been relatively quite since China’s AML came into force on 1 August 2008. Read the full article here.
Civil Litigation under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law
Since the introduction of the China AML in August 2008, Chinese courts have experimented with various methods of civil dispute adjudication based on breach of the AML. In general, China’s courts have very limited judicial experience with such cases. A number of civil cases have been brought before the courts, but very few, if any, have resulted in a successful judgment for breach of the AML. Read the full article here.
Might the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) Become A New Enforcement Authority for China’s Competition Laws?
In addition to MOFCOM, SAIC and NDRC, the three major enforcement authorities for the anti-unfair competition and anti-monopoly laws, it seems the MIIT might also become a regulator of competition in the telecommunications sector. In addition to a Draft Regulation on Internet Information Services, published for consultation in January 2012, MIIT released an “Opinion on Regulating the Business Activities of Basic Telecommunications Carriers on Campuses” (the Opinion) on 30 June 2011. Read the full article here.
Recently,China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) imposed large fines on two pharmaceutical distributors. This move indicates the enforcement agency, which supervises price-related monopolistic practices, is beginning to take a more active role in enforcing the country’s Anti-Monopoly Law.
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On June 24, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney announced that the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies will be signing a cooperation agreement with their Chinese counterparts. As a consequence, companies can now expect to see the Chinese authorities participating in coordinated “dawn raids” and related cooperative enforcement initiatives with the U.S. and EU antitrust enforcers in international cartel cases.
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China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce has imposed the first fines for violation of the country’s Anti-Monopoly Law on a concrete cartel. The swift action indicates business operators should anticipate more widespread and vigorous investigations by the newly empowered Chinese competition regulatory authorities.
To read the full article, please visit: http://www.mwechinalaw.com/news/2011/chinalawalert0211c.htm.