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US/China: US Chamber says China threatens ‘global antitrust commons’

 |  September 8, 2014

The US Chamber of Commerce has made public its report of the role of China’s antimonopoly law in the midst of heavy criticism from lobbyists and foreign companies that accuse China of bias against non-domestic firms.

The Chamber released its report after five years since China first enacted its Anti-Monopoly Law, vowing to “working constructively with China’s Anti-Monopoly Law Enforcement Authorities … as well as China’s judiciary and leading academic experts” to share the Chamber’s own experience with Chinese officials.

The report recognizes the importance of China’s economy in a global setting, though notes that “China appears to be using the AML to promote industrial policy goals, even at the expense of competition – the very goal that other countries’ competition laws are designed to enforce.”

The Chamber has also found that “deficiencies” in China’s due process are perpetuating problems with China’s competition regulation.

The report echoes some concerns raised in recent months around the globe that China is using its competition laws to promote its own, domestic markets. According to the Chamber of Commerce, China’s National Development and Reform Commission is using its investigative power to give domestic company Huawei “more leverage in its IP licensing discussions with InterDigital and Qualcomm.”

The Chamber concludes that “through the AML, China is depriving itself of a credible basis to advocate for competition law to be implemented in a fair and neutral manner around the globe.”

The report follows the NDRC’s decision to post on its website the details of fines issued to dozens of domestic insurance companies for anticompetitive behavior. The Zhejiang Provincial Insurance Association, as well as 23 other insurance companies, were found o have colluded to fix car insurance policy discounts.

The fines were issued in December of last year, say reports, but details of the sanctions were not made public until now.

”The NDRC wants to show that domestic and foreign companies are equally treated,” one expert, Dacheng Law Office partner Deng Zhisong, said.

Full content: US Chamber of Commerce and South China Morning Post

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