Antitrust Roundtable -- China Anti-Monopoly Law: What Might We See in 2012

Antitrust Roundtable -- China Anti-Monopoly Law: What Might We See in 2012

Unlike other jurisdictions where antitrust enforcement is centralized, in China three agencies enforce the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML"). The AML has been in effect since August 2008 and continues to evolve as these three agencies adopt additional regulations. Merger enforcement will continue to be a major focus and source for consumption of time and resources for foreign companies. We may see more activity in the cartel enforcement area.

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On February 16, 2012 the Beijing office of Sheppard Mullin had a reception to celebrate the opening of new office space in China World Trade Center in the central business district. Firm Chairman Guy Halgren welcomed our 120-plus guests. Prior to the reception, Sheppard Mullin hosted a roundtable discussion on the Anti-Monopoly Law of China ("AML"). We had 18 participants, including in-house counsel for major corporations, as well as the German Chamber of Commerce. Our guest speaker, Mr. Zhang Yuqing, former director general counsel of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM"), who headed the inter-agency group which developed the AML, spoke on two topics which will probably be "hot" this year: a new regulation which will fine companies which didn't report their transactions and went ahead with the transactions, and another regulation that deals with national security review. Gary Halling, head of Sheppard Mullin's antitrust practice, spoke about recent enforcement trends in the U.S, specifically with respect to cartels. Michael Zhang of Sheppard Mullin's Shanghai office also attended and gave his views on investment structures. The subsequent discussion among the participants was lively.

Antitrust Roundtable, February 16, 2012

China Anti-Monopoly Law: What might we see in 2012?

Let us begin with a look at the past three years of antitrust enforcement in China and recent trends in the US. Today, we are lucky to have with us Zhang Yuqing, former general counsel for MOFTEC/MOFCOM, who led an inter-agency working group to develop the Anti-Monopoly Law and Gary Halling, head of Sheppard Mullin's antitrust practice. I will open with a brief summary of some highlights of antitrust enforcement in China and the US so that we have a backdrop or framework for our discussion.

China Anti-Monopoly Law: it's still evolving

Unlike other jurisdictions where antitrust enforcement is centralized, in China three agencies enforce the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML"). The Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM") handles mergers, while cases related to anticompetitive conduct are split between the National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC") and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce ("SAIC"). The NDRC handles price-related violations and SAIC the non-price related violations. The AML has been in effect since August 2008 and continues to evolve as these three agencies adopt additional regulations in order to provide more guidance on and clarification of such aspects as terminology, procedures, and enforcement.

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