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2014 Business Review XVIIII: Carry out Anti-monopoly Work According to Law and Maintain a Market Order with Fair Competition

In 2014, the anti-monopoly work attracted extensive attention at home and abroad and became a hot social topic. The Ministry of Commerce carried out the anti-monopoly investigation of concentration of undertakings according to law, paid attention to standardizing the enforcement procedures, enhanced the efficiency and transparency of law enforcement and obtained positive effects on protecting a fair and competitive market order and maintaining the interests of consumers.

I. Efforts were made to do a good job in the anti-monopoly committee. The Anti-monopoly Bureau of the MOFCOM undertook the function of the Anti-monopoly Committee Office of the State Council, actively promoted all work of the committee, played the role of organization and coordination, carefully completed the change of the term of the committee and organized the first plenary session of the committee after the change. Aiming at the concerns of the outside world about the Chinese anti-monopoly law enforcement, the Anti-monopoly Bureau of the MOFCOM coordinated three anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies to clarify questions by such methods as convening press conferences and expert interpretation, strengthened the study of competition policies, promoted the construction of the anti-monopoly data system and carried out the systematical research on the market competition situations of such industries as steel.

II. Efforts were made to effectively promote law enforcement work. The MOFCOM actively did a good job in the anti-monopoly law enforcement work of undertakings, resulting in an increase of the number of cases handled. In 2014, 262 cases were filed and 245 were concluded, with an increase of 17% and 18% respectively, which marked the highest number over the years since the implementation of the Anti-monopoly Law. The investigation into the declaration cases which were not in accordance with the law was enhanced, the penalty decisions of two cases were made and investigations on many cases were carried out. The supervision and implementation work of the conditional cases was strengthened and the penalty decisions of two cases violating the restrictive conditions were made.

III. Efforts were made to concentrate on getting key cases straight. With limited law enforcement resources, the MOFCOM paid attention to improving the quality of handling cases, focused on doing a good job in the investigation work of key cases. Of the concluded cases, 240 were approved without any conditions, four were approved with conditions and one was banned. The case of banning MAERSK, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA-CGM to set up network centers maintained the competition order of the service market of container liner transportation between Asia and Europe and exerted positive influences upon the global shipping market. The case of approving Microsoft to purchase Nokia with conditions prevented Microsoft and Nokia from abusing the patent right to restrict market competition. The case of approving Merck to purchase Ingenico with conditions prevented the possible eliminating and limited competition effects on raw material market of LCD. The case of approving ThermoFisher to purchase Life Technologies with conditions protected the market's competition order of biotechnology products. The case of approving Corun to set up a cooperative enterprise with such enterprises as Toyota China promoted the sound development of the battery market of new energy automobiles.

IV. Efforts were made to standardize enforcement procedures. The MOFCOM paid attention to the supporting legislation and system construction, constantly improved enforcement procedures, set up the simple case system, published and implemented the Temporary Regulations of Applicable Standards of Simple Cases of Concentration of Undertakings, the Guidance of Declaration of Simple Cases of Concentration of Undertakings (Trail), revised the Guidance of Declaration of Concentration of Undertakings, reduced the requirements of application materials of simple cases, standardized the contents of application materials, reduced the burden of enterprises, studied and formulated the supporting legislation with conditions, published the Regulations of Concentration of Undertakings with Restrictive Conditions (Trial), fully stipulated the supervision and legal liabilities of restrictive conditions and further standardized the investigation and supervision of cases with conditions.

V. Judicial efficiency was constantly improved. Under the circumstances of rapidly increasing cases, the MOFCOM constantly straightened out the law enforcement mechanism, paid attention to improving the declaration and investigation efficiency, developed the client software in order to accelerate the declaration speed of cases, implemented the electronic declaration to provide convenience for the declaration of enterprises, optimized the working process of registration, accelerated the approval speed of the application materials, shortened the registration time, implemented the system of classifying case examination, accelerated the investigation of cases which couldn鈥檛 obviously limit competitive effects, concluded the simple cases at the preliminary examination stage and further accelerated the investigation of non-simple cases.

VI. Efforts were made to improve the transparency of law enforcement. The MOFCOM constantly strengthened the construction of transparency, did a good job in the disclosure of case information, timely published the investigation decisions of forbidden cases, cases with conditions and cases violating laws, explained the facts and basis of cases in detail and regularly publicized the basic information of cases approved without any conditions. Up to now, 961 cases were publicized. The MOFCOM communicated with enterprises in the process of declaration and investigation in time, provided more than 80 times of negotiations and consultation service for enterprises, carried out the on-line display system for simple cases, widely listened to suggestions of the affirmation of simple cases, publicized 79 cases in total, coordinated the holding of the briefing on anti-monopoly of the State Council Information Office and the news conference of the MOFCOM, introduced the working progress in anti-monopoly and interpreted the management situations of major cases.

VII. International communication and cooperation were actively carried out. Under the background of economic globalization, cases of cross-border mergers and acquisitions might be administered by many anti-monopoly jurisdictions. The MOFCOM paid attention to promoting the international cooperation in competitive law enforcement, constantly strengthened the communication and cooperation with the law enforcement agencies of other jurisdictions, signed memorandums of understanding of anti-monopoly with Russia, Australia and Kenya, carried out the communication and cooperation in case information with the law enforcement agencies of anti-monopoly of some jurisdictions, actively participated in the negotiations on competitive topics of free trade agreements and created a fair and competitive environment for promoting free trade and investment.

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