Progress and Uncertainty: The Development and Implementation of a Unified Competition Regime in the People's Republic of China
66 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2008
Date Written: June 1, 2008
China's new Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), over two decades in the making, was finally enacted on August 30, 2007 and on August 1, 2008 will replace the disparate and ineffective competition regime currently in place. Legislators invited the input of a wide array of domestic and foreign legal experts and business interests, as well as Chinese government agencies of all levels. While the new law borrows much of its wording from the competition law of the European Union and United States, it also retains unmistakably Chinese characteristics.
In addition to unifying existing prohibitions against a range of abusive trade practices, the AML consolidates the enforcement apparatus and strengthens the regulatory framework for both public and private domestic monopolistic acts. The new system reflects a range of divergent policy goals that combine protectionist sentiment with the desire to promote competition even at significant political cost. While the AML may lead to genuine progress, it could also easily serve as a means of perpetuating discriminatory treatment and an ineffective weapon against abuses by State-owned enterprises, administrators and trade unions.
The prospects for effective and equitable enforcement of the new system will require the time to develop a body of jurisprudence on competition law, the fortitude to combat regional administrative abuses and the passage of sound implementing measures to fill in gaps in the upcoming law. The AML has achieved the initial goal of establishing a solid foundation for Chinese competition policy, but fulfilling the promise of this historic step will only be possible through a massive and continued effort by a great many dedicated people over the course of many years. However, considering the economic progress and governmental reform China has achieved over the last generation, the demonstration of such will and capability are well within its reach.
Keywords: PRC monopoly competition anti-trust AML
JEL Classification: K21, K33, L40, L41, L42, L43, L44, L52, O21, O40
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