The Asia-Pacific Antitrust Review 2016

China: Cartels

11 February 2016

China continued its enforcement initiatives in 2015, targeting cartel agreements and other monopoly agreements prohibited under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). Building on several years of active enforcement, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), together with their regional offices, have firmly established their position as important cartel enforcers to be reckoned with worldwide. Notably, the 2015 cases have reaffirmed the authorities’ hard stance on cartel activities and reflected a continued focus on global enforcement. At the same time, the Anti-Monopoly Commission overseeing enforcement in China has instructed the NDRC to take the lead in drafting a series of antitrust guidelines to give more transparency to enforcers and market participants. Some of these guidelines will give more clarity on key procedural aspects of cartel enforcement, including leniency applications, liability exemptions, commitments for suspension of investigations, and calculation of fines and unlawful gains. Other guidelines will provide more guidance on the application of the AML in particular contexts, such as the auto sector and intellectual property area. Once enacted, these new rules will continue to shape the cartel enforcement and compliance landscape in China.

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