05 September 2014

[050914.EN.SEA] China Anti-monopoly Probes Not Protectionism in Disguise: Regulatory Chief

CHINA's anti-monopoly probes, which have hit Microsoft and Volkswagen, are not protectionist tools to favour domestic firms, says the head of Beijing's the anti-monopoly bureau.

Xu Kunlin, whose bureau is a department of the powerful National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), told China Daily that his agency gave equal treatment to local and foreign companies.

The probes into the activities of 30 foreign firms have worried US companies while the European Union Chamber of Commerce said last month they appeared to be unfairly targeting foreign firms.

American Chamber of Commerce in China vice chairman Lester Ross said regulators were using "extra-legal" means to conduct investigations, Reuters reported.

"They have taken vague or unspecified provisions in the law and moved to enforce them, and sought to enforce those means through processes that do not respect the notion of due process or fairness." said Mr Ross.

Said Mr Xu: "Such accusations are groundless and baseless. Some of the NDRC monopoly investigations involve overseas multinationals, but that does not mean that we are targeting them.

"Some business operators in China have failed to adjust their practices in accordance with the anti-monopoly law," he said. "Others have a clear understanding of the law, but take the chance they may escape punishment."

He said the NDRC was not targeting any specific industries and was also handling cases involving state-owned firms and Chinese private sector companies.

The automotive industry has been in focus for the last two or three years, he said. Last month, the NDRC slapped a record fine of US$201 million on 12 Japanese automakers it said had engaged in price manipulation.

Source : HKSG.

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