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EU, AmCham-China Welcome China's Anti-monopoly Law
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The European Union (EU) is seeking to share its experience and promote cooperation with China in competition policy, the bloc's antitrust chief said in an interview with Xinhua on Friday, one day after China adopted a new anti-monopoly law.

Neelie Kroes, the EU Competition Commissioner who will pay her first official visit to China next week, said it was a coincidence that her trip was welcomed by the adoption of the new legislation.

"The main purpose is to congratulate the Chinese people and the government for the adoption of the first comprehensive anti-monopoly law. That is really a historical fact that we are facing," she said, adding the implementation of a transparent and non-discriminatory competition regime will benefit the Chinese economy and Chinese consumers.

The Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress on Thursday passed the country's first anti-monopoly law, which will come into effect on Aug. 1, 2008. It marked the end of a key legislative process lasting more than 13 years.

Kroes said the new law will surely become a major subject when she has high-level ministerial meetings in Beijing with her Chinese counterparts on competition policy and on enhancing cooperation.

"It is an opportunity to get in touch with Chinese officials," Kroes said, "We are proud we can be of help. We sincerely hope that our cooperation will continue and will be as fruitful as it is now."

The European Commission said Kroes' visit takes place in the framework of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue, a policy exchange mechanism established in 2003 whose primary objective is to establish a permanent forum for consultation and transparency between the two sides, and to enhance the EU's technical and capacity-building assistance to China regarding competition law.

"We were quite close in our cooperation, and we are prepared to give a hand and to offer our experience with our competition policy and regulations" to China, Kroes said.

Kroes said that, as the new law was passed, she is now especially interested in how it will be implemented and hopes to explore ways during her trip to strengthen bilateral relations with different bodies which will enforce the law in China.

"It (the Chinese anti-monopoly law) was adopted. It is a fact. Now it has to be implemented, so it is very interesting to discuss also how to implement it. That is of course the next step. We have a bit of experience in dealing with competition policy after fifty years in Europe," she said.

"I am highly interested in what is planned in the next period and in creating more reciprocal trade and investment opportunities for both the EU and Chinese operators," she added.

After visiting Beijing, Kroes will travel to Dalian, a seashore resort in northeast China, to attend a World Economic Forum. She is also expected to address a group of business people on the EU competition policy.

The American Chamber of Commerce of China (AmCham-China) has said that it welcomes the promulgation of the new Anti-Monopoly Law as a positive step in China's economic development.

AmCham-China Chairman James Zimmerman on Friday described the law as a "defining moment in the development of China's legal system, which establishes a basic framework to build a fair, uniform, and national competition law system that benefits consumers by recognizing and preserving the incentives to compete."

The law was passed by China's top legislature on Thursday and will come into effect on Aug. 1, 2008.

Over the past seven years, the Chinese government has invited the chamber and its members to provide written comments on various drafts of the Anti-Monopoly Law.

"We applaud the Chinese government for receiving extensive comments and suggestions from foreign enforcement authorities, scholars, antitrust lawyers, and industry groups," said Zimmerman.

AmCham-China appreciates the Chinese government's willingness to consider the experiences and perspectives of foreign countries in formulating its competition policy, he said.

According to Zimmerman, the promulgation of the Anti-Monopoly Law is only the first step in the establishment of a comprehensive, nationwide competition regime.

The chamber looks forward to further efforts to enhance law enforcement, he said.

Zimmerman expressed the hope that China's competition authorities will focus on modern economic principles and prevailing international practices when applying the law.

AmCham-China is an organization representing the interests of more than 2400 US companies and individuals engaged in business in China.

(Xinhua News Agency September 1, 2007)

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