Upholding fair competition, China's first anti-monopoly law, that takes effect today, ushered in a new chapter in the development of the country's market economy.
The new law, dubbed the "constitution for the market economy", will be a real boon to Chinese consumers by putting various monopoly practices under control.
However, Chinese legislators still have no time to breathe easy even after putting into practice the law which was proposed 15 years ago and was not passed until last year.
As a basic framework for building a fair, uniform and national legal system for competition, the new law lays out only certain principles guiding anti-monopoly work. Lack of specific regulations and guidelines for practice will make it hard to enforce the law efficiently.
Hence, law-makers should press ahead with follow-up legislation to bring into full play the role of the anti-monopoly legislation in protecting consumers.
A full-fledged anti-monopoly law is particularly needed as the country makes big strides to develop its market economy after three decades of remarkable economic reforms and opening-up.
On the one hand, the anti-trust law will help create a level playing field for all enterprises by preventing dominating companies from abusing their superior market positions.
A dominant market position itself does not make a company a subject of anti-monopoly measures. It is only those companies that make use of their dominance to keep or seize a major share of the market that should be punished by the law.
It is believed that such a law to control monopoly and restrictive practices in favor of competition will largely contribute to improving the overall efficiency of the market economy in China.
On the other hand, better protection of consumers against monopoly practices will help boost domestic consumption to facilitate changes in the growth pattern.
To pursue sustainable growth, China has been trying hard to shift away from its reliance on investment and export for growth. But one of the impediments that discourage consumers from loosening purse strings is unfriendly consumption climate caused, in particularly, by those State firms in the monopoly sectors.
It is hoped that legislators can quickly flesh out the new law with substantive rules against anti-competition conducts.
(China Daily August 1, 2008)