View China's antitrust law enforcement objectively

By Yu Xiang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 22, 2014
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In recent months, China's antitrust legislation probes have caused some worries of western investors and media over the fairness and transparency of the law enforcement. The American Chamber of Commerce in China, in its recent report, airs its grievances over a perception that multinational firms are under "selective and subjective enforcement" using "legal and extra-legal approaches". Western media is exaggerating the dissatisfaction of some big multinational companies.

The spoiled whiner [By Jiao Haiyang/]

Under great pressure from lobbyists, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew raised his concern. In his letter to a Chinese official, Lew warned that a spate of antitrust investigations against foreign companies could have serious implications for relations between the two countries,

But, in fact, the saying that China's probes are selective towards foreign companies is not objective and is indeed biased.

First of all, Chinese regulators are targeting more of China's domestic firms, rather than foreign companies. Ranging from drinks manufacturers and gold retailers to salt producers, the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) has so far investigated 335 enterprises and industry associations on monopoly charges. Of those investigated, only 33 of them were foreign companies. The number of investigated foreign companies makes up just 10% of those targeted by NDRC's antitrust investigations.

Secondly, the launching of antitrust probes is a tactic that China learned from western countries to use legal actions to fight market manipulation.

After more than 30 years of reform, China is focused on deepening reform along the track of the rule of law. The new Chinese leaders intend to use the rule of law to take reform to new heights. October's upcoming plenary session of the CPC Central Committee is said to take the rule of law as its central theme, which marks the first time in recent history. With China's reform entering "deep-water zone", the rule of law is crucial to the success of the current reform campaign and future development.

China's Antitrust Law was introduced in August 2008; but specific law enforcement was insufficient. Since the new Chinese leadership came into office, more antitrust activities by China's regulatory bodies were seen over the last eighteen months than the previous four years. China's stepped up enforcement of its six-year-old antitrust law sends the message that China is making more efforts to put its laws to work.

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