Monday, November 15, 2004

Antitrust law in China

The  Xinhua News Agency reports today:

"China's long-awaited anti-trust law is expected to come into being in the near future, revealed Ning Wanglu, a senior fair-trade official with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), at an international seminar held here on November 10 on fair competition and the market economy. In 1993, China promulgated a law against unfair competition, which has served as a basic package of rules for the nation to maintain the normal order of market competition. Though there are clauses and articles in other existing laws, which concern policies for competition, no exclusive law against monopolistic competition has yet been hammered out.

"Ning said that a great quantity of unfair trade activities on the Chinese mainland are closely related to monopoly, particularly administrative monopoly with the characteristics of localism. As China is opening itself wider to the outside world, competition has been introduced into areas that had been state monopolies, to which access has also been given to private and foreign capital. To effectively maintain fairness in competition, it is imperative for China to promulgate its own anti-trust law.

"Legislators said that existing laws and regulations fail to meet requirements of the fast changing economy and society in China. The corresponding regulatory vacuum has led directly to the absence of law enforcement means, making it hard to stop new unfair trade activities on the Chinese market.

"Official statistics from SAIC show that China annually detected more than 600 cases of competition restriction in monopolized sectors on average, involving water and power supply, railroad transport, insurance, post and telecommunications, commercial banking and tobacco processing.

"Among the 500,000-workforce in law enforcement for the Administration nationwide, nearly 70,000 are devoted to fair trade."

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