On 2 June 2017 the European Commission announced that DG Competition had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The Memorandum is intended to start a dialogue between China and the EU on “how to best handle state intervention in the economy”, with the Commission’s press release stating that the dialogue creates a mechanism for “consultation, co-operation and transparency between China and the EU in the field of State aid control”. Under the terms of the Memorandum, dialogues between senior officials are to be held at least once a year alternating between Brussels and Beijing, with the Memorandum set to run for an initial period of five years until June 2022. The announcement follows China’s adoption of a Fair Competition Review System in June 2016, which aims to prevent the distorting impact of public policies on competition while maintaining fair market competition and promoting a unified market.
On the same day, the Commission also announced that it would be launching a wider technical co-operation programme with Asian competition authorities. The €5 million programme will address all areas of competition law and cover a number of countries in Asia, including China, India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). The Commission declared that the programme would allow the participating authorities to share experiences and best practice, with the aim of producing greater convergence in their approach to competition policy. It will fund a number of activities such as EU competition weeks held in Asian partner countries, competition summer schools in the EU and visits to DG Competition and national competition authorities in the EU Member States. Activities are expected to commence in the third quarter of 2017 and will run for an initial period of five years.