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US/China: Ministry of Commerce’s amicus arguments to be heard in China-US face-off

 |  April 17, 2018

Last week, the US Supreme Court granted an extremely unusual motion by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), allowing the ministry to present oral argument on April 24, when the justices hear a big antitrust case by US Vitamin C purchasers suing Chinese vitamin makers accused of price-rigging, reported Reuters.

The Chinese government and manufacturers have long insisted that the cartel was simply following Chinese trade law according to Reuters. But China is not actually named in the case. MOFCOM had to ask the Supreme Court for permission to argue as an amicus for members of the cartel, who backed the motion calling for them to divide their time with the Chinese government.

The justices’ decision to hear from China’s lawyer, Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin, sets up a fascinating dynamic, because the Supreme Court will also hear arguments from the US Justice Department, which has sided with the US companies suing Chinese Vitamin C makers. In the same order granting permission for the Chinese government to present arguments, the Supreme Court also gave time to the solicitor general’s office to argue against China.

The Supreme Court, in other words, is about to host a direct confrontation between representatives from the Chinese and US governments over a Chinese trade policy the US considers controversial.

Full Content: Reuters

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