On January 15th, 2016, Ministry of Commerce (―MOFCOM‖) issued the year-end work report of anti-monopoly work. The report stated that, in 2015, MOFCOM carried out anti-monopoly reviews in accordance with law and achieved progress in legislation, law enforcement and international cooperation, effectively maintained fair competition in the market.
The main content of the report is as followed:
Ø Improving legislation and promoting systematism of anti-monopoly review
- MOFCOM systematically reflected on key and difficult issues emerging from reviews on concentration of undertakings, to promote the research on revision of the Anti-Monopoly Law.
- MOFCOM initiated revision of the Measures for Declaration of Concentration of Undertakings and Measures for Review of Concentration of Undertakings, and at the same time widely collected opinion from the public.
- Further, to reinforce the implementation of relevant legislation and regulation, MOFCOM enacted and issued guidelines, such as the Guiding Opinion on Regulating the Titles of Cases Involving the Concentration of Undertakings in the Anti-Monopoly Declaration, and the Model Text of the Supervision Trustee.
Ø Effectively implementing anti-monopoly enforcement work
- By the end of 2015, the Anti-monopoly Bureau of MOFCOM had received 352 declarations for concentration of undertakings, registered 338 cases and settled 312 cases. All these three numbers have been the highest on record since the effectiveness of the Anti-monopoly Law. The Anti-monopoly Bureau cleared 310 mergers and 2 conditional mergers.
- Furthermore, the Anti-monopoly Bureau meted out heavier punishments against illegal cases about concentration of undertakings, and in 9 cases relevant undertakings were punished.
- In addition, the Anti-monopoly Bureau strengthened supervision on conditional cases, and altered or eliminated the restrictive conditions in 8 cases.
Ø Improving review system and safeguard fair, efficient and transparent enforcement
- MOFCOM adjusted the previous mechanisms of negotiations, case-filing and review for handling cases. In accordance with the industries that cases involved, the review office respectively handled the whole process of negotiations, case-filing and review.
- Annual average case-filing time decreased by 13% when compared with 2014, and simple cases were basically concluded in the preliminary review stage (within 30 days).
- MOFCOM continued improving the transparency of law enforcement, and announced notices about prohibitive cases and the conditionally approved cases, as well as the punishment for illegal undeclared cases. At the same time, it explained facts and reasons on which the decisions were made, it also published the basic information quarterly about the unconditionally approved cases.
Ø Expanding foreign exchanges and enhancing international cooperation
- In 2015, MOFCOM continued broadening the cooperation scope by signing Memorandum of Understanding on Antitrust Cooperation with Canada, South Africa and BRICs countries. It also signed Practical Guidance for Cooperation on Reviewing
Disclaimer: This bulletin is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The transmission and receipt of information contained in the document do not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship.
Merger Cases with the European Commission.
- In addition, MOFCOM actively participated in negotiation about competition issues in free trade agreements such as China-Japan-Korean Agreement and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Ø Strengthening communication and taking advantages of the Committee Office efficiently
- Under the legislative plan of office of Anti-Monopoly Committee of the State Council, MOFCOM coordinated committee members to draft the Guidelines for Prohibiting the Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights to Exclude and Restrain Competition, the Guidelines for Enforcement of Article 46 and Article 47 of Anti-Monopoly Law, the Guidelines for Relevant Procedures of Investigating and Punishing Monopoly Agreements and Abuse of Dominant Market Position and the Guidelines for Anti-Monopoly in Automotive Industry.
- In addition, the Committee Office also promoted the construction of Anti-Monopoly information database and finished the formation of the second session of the Expert Advisory Committee, as well as supported the panel of experts to hold ―China Competition Policy Forum‖. >>Read More Back
On April 6th, 2016, MOFCOM issued the list of 81 unconditionally cleared concentrations of undertakings in the first quarter of 2016. >>Read More Back
On February 2nd, 2016, National Development and Reform Commission (―NDRC‖) announced the administrative sanction decision against five allopurinol firms for reaching and implementing monopoly agreement of allopurinol drug. The five allopurinol firms included Chongqing Qingyang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Chongqing Datong Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., the Place Pharmaceutical (Jiangsu) Co. Ltd., Shanghai Xinyi United Medicinal Herbs Co. Ltd. and Shangqiu Huajie Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd(hereinafter, ―the parties‖). NDRC ordered five firms to cease illegal conducts, and imposed fines totaling CNY 3,995,400.
On October 16th, 2015, NDRC conducted an investigation on the acts of conducting pricing consultations, allocating sales market, as well as reaching and implementing monopoly agreements. Upon the investigation, NDRC found that between Apr. 2014 and Sep. 2015, the parties convened four meetings to reach and implement a monopoly agreement collectively raising the price of allopurinol and dividing sales market. The above behaviors seriously restricted free competition in the allopurinol market, and damaged consumer welfare.
Therefore, NDRC concluded that the parties reached and implemented monopoly agreement to restrict completion, and thus violated Article 13 of the AML, which provides that competing undertakings are prohibited from reaching and implementing monopoly agreements to fix or change product prices or allocate the sales market. >>Read More Back
On April 14th, 2016, NDRC announced the administrative sanction decision that Shanghai Price
Supervision Bureau required Shanghai Hankook Tire Sales Co.,Ltd (Shanghai Hankook) to cease illegal conducts, and imposed fines totaling CNY 2,175,200 ( 1% of sales of the previous year in the relevant market ).
Upon investigation, from 2012 to 2013, Shanghai Hankook signed Exclusive Distribution Contract and Market Stabilization Management Contract with terms setting the minimum resale price with its distributors in Shanghai, related to the sale of tires for trucks and passenger vehicles. If the distributors did not comply with the terms of contracts, Shanghai Hankook would terminate the contracts or deduct market regulation deposit. In addition, Shanghai Hankook required part of distributors to take deposits, and sell products with a price no less than guiding price.
Therefore, Shanghai Price Supervision Bureau concluded Shanghai Hankook reached and implemented a monopoly agreement to set minimum product price for resale to third parties with relevant distributors, and was in violation of Article 14 of AML, eliminating or restricting market price competition and damage the lawful interests of other undertakings and consumers. >>Read More Back
On April 13th, 2016, NDRC announced the administrative sanction decision that Shanxi Price Supervision Bureau required Shanxi Provincial Vehicle Inspection Association (the Association) and Vehicle Inspection Service Providers (the parties) to cease illegal conducts, and imposed fines totaling CNY 5,769,561, among which the Association was fined CNY 250,000, one of involved parties was exempt, and others was imposed totaling fine CNY 5,519,561 upon different circumstances.
Upon investigation, with the organization of Xian Branch of the Association, the parties discussed collective increase in service fee with each other over WeChat since November, 2015. Three meeting were held to discuss price increase details, including fee charging standard, the commencement time, and penalties for non-compliance with the uniformly set minimum fee standards.
Therefore, Shanxi Price Supervision Bureau concluded in the organization of the Association, the parties carried out conducts of fixing or changing product price and violated Article 13 of AML. >>Read More Back
On January 5th, 2016, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (―SAIC‖) inquired of the executives from Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Greater China about antitrust issues. SAIC’s investigation team asked Microsoft executives to answer some important questions regarding the electronic data that SAIC had accessed since the antitrust investigation was launched, and required Microsoft to furnish related explanatory materials after the questioning.
In June 2014, SAIC docketed the case and launched antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s suspected monopolistic conducts, including the interoperability problems caused by incomplete disclosure of relevant information of Windows operating systems and Office software, tying media player and internet browser, as well as the problem of file verification. >>Read More Back
On February 3rd, 2016, SAIC announced the administrative sanction decision made by Jiangxi Administration for Industry and Commerce (―JXAIC‖) on December 28th, 2015 against seventeen insurance firms (―the parties‖) for monopoly agreements. JXAIC ordered the parties to cease illegal conducts immediately, and imposed fines totaling CNY 5,218,000.
On March 22nd, 2013, JXAIC received the complaints reflecting (alleging) that there were monopoly agreements in the group accident insurance market related to construction projects in Jiangxi. Upon verification, JXAIC concluded that the circumstance revealed in complaints were substantially true. On June 3rd, 2013, as authorized by SAIC, JXAIC docketed the case and conducted antitrust investigation against the parties for suspected of allocating sales markets.
In the course of its investigation, JXAIC found that the parties signed a series of co-insurance agreements to allocate the group accident insurance market related to construction projects and market shares in Jiangxi Province in December 2009. In addition, in December 2012, when the above-mentioned agreements were to expire, the parties signed another series of co-insurance agreements again.
Therefore, JXAIC concluded that the parties reached and implemented monopoly agreements to divide the markets, and violated Article 13 of the AML, which provides that competing undertakings are prohibited from concluding monopoly agreements to allocate sales markets‖. >>Read More Back
On February 1st, Hu Zucai, the vice chairman from NDRC met with John Pecman, from Canada’s Commissioner of Competition in Beijing. The two parties exchanged opinions on antitrust policy measures, antitrust enforcement status and China-Canada antitrust corporation respectively, and signed a memorandum of understanding each other. >>Read More Back
Since February 24th, 2016, three Antitrust Enforcement Authorities (MOFCOM, SAIC and NDRC) met with Herbert Fung, director of Competition Commission of Singapore in Beijing respectively, and exchanged opinions on competition policy, antitrust enforcement status and others. >>Read More Back
From March 14th to March 17th, 2016, the 12th EU-China Competition Policy Week was held in Beijing. NDRC, SAIC and MOFCOM respectively held the antitrust seminar with EU DG competition.
At the seminar, NDRC introduced four antitrust guidelines being drafted, including the Guidelines for Undertakings’ Commitments in Antitrust Cases and the Guidelines for Application of the Leniency Regime in the Cases of Horizontal Monopoly Agreements. In addition, the officials from EC’s DG Competition, Poland Competition and Consumer Protection Office and the officials from Portugal Competition Bureau respectively introduced competition policies of EU, Poland and Portugal related Leniency, Commitment and Penalty systems, and provided opinions and suggestions.
SAIC and EC’s DG Competition had a broad and in-depth exchange of views and discussion on
the hotspot issues such as quantitative analysis of competition damage and entity responsibility of monopoly behavior.
Han Chunlin, the deputy director general of Anti-monopoly Bureau of MOFCOM, the officials from EU and Ireland, and the experts jointly held the meeting to discuss a variety of issues, including anti-monopoly legislation and enforcement. >>Read More Back
On December 30th, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (―FTC‖) required the national kidney-dialysis chain U.S. Renal Care, Inc., for which Rangers Renal Holdings LP is the parent company, to divest its ownership interest in three outpatient dialysis clinics in Laredo, Texas, as part of a settlement resolving charges that its $640 million acquisition of competitor DSI Renal, from DSI Renal’s ultimate parent company, Dialysis Parent, LLC, would be anticompetitive.
U.S. Renal Care is the third-largest provider of outpatient dialysis services in the United States and DSI Renal is the sixth-largest. According to the complaint, the acquisition would lead to a significant increase in market concentration and anticompetitive effects in one local market—Laredo, Texas—by reducing the number of providers from three to two. The likely result would be elimination of direct competition between U.S. Renal Care and DSI Renal, reduced incentives to improve service or quality for dialysis patients, and increased ability for the merged company to unilaterally increase prices, the Commission alleged. >>Read More Back
On January 29th, 2016, the FTC approved a final order settling charges that Drug Testing Compliance Group, LLC, an Idaho-based company that provides drug and alcohol testing and other services to commercial trucking companies and their drivers, illegally invited one of its competitors to enter into a customer allocation agreement.
Under the order, first announced in December 2015, Drug Testing Compliance Group must stop communicating with its competitors about prices, and was barred from soliciting, entering into, or maintaining an agreement with any competitor to divide markets, allocate customers, or fix prices; and from urging any competitor to raise, fix, or maintain prices, or to limit or reduce service. >>Read More Back
On February 3rd, 2016, the Department of Justice (―DOJ‖) announced that it would require BBA Aviation plc, the parent company of Signature Flight Support, to divest fixed-base operator assets (FBOs) at six U.S. airports in order to proceed with its $2.065 billion acquisition of Landmark Aviation.
DOJ’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to block the proposed acquisition, and simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit. DOJ said that without the required divestitures, the transaction would have created a monopoly for FBO services at three airports and reduced the number of full-service FBO providers from three to two
On February 18th, 2016, in response to a request by Massachusetts State Representative Bradley
H. Jones, FTC and DOJ’s Antitrust Division submitted a statement encouraging the Massachusetts legislature to consider expanding the services that optometrists can provide to glaucoma patients. Specifically, Representative Jones asked the agencies for views on the possible competitive impact of Massachusetts House Bill 1973 (HB 1973), which would expand the scope of practice for optometrists in Massachusetts by permitting them to treat glaucoma and other optical diseases.
Glaucoma affects 2.7 million Americans, and early diagnosis and managed treatment offer protection against the risk of vision loss or blindness. The statement, which is limited to the bill’s effect on glaucoma care, describes the potential benefits to patients of enhanced competition among glaucoma care providers. It recommends that the legislature restrict optometrists’ ability to treat glaucoma only to the extent necessary to ensure patient health and safety. >>Read More Back
On February 19th, 2016, Generic drug manufacturers Lupin Ltd. and Gavis Pharmaceuticals LLC sold the rights and assets for two generic drugs, one used to treat bacterial infections and the other to treat ulcerative colitis, in order to settle FTC charges that Lupin’s proposed $850 million acquisition of Gavis would likely be anticompetitive. The proposed consent order preserved competition by requiring the companies to divest these products to the New Jersey-based generic pharmaceutical company G&W Laboratories.
Without a divestiture, the merger would have combined two of only four companies that currently market generic doxycycline monohydrate capsules in two dosage strengths, used to treat bacterial infections, likely resulting in higher prices. The merger also would have eliminated one of only a few companies likely to enter the market for generic mesalamine extended release capsules, used to treat ulcerative colitis, in the near future, thereby delaying beneficial competition and the prospect of price decreases. >>Read More Back
On February 19th, 2016, two water treatment chemicals executives were indicted in Newark, New Jersey, for their roles in a conspiracy to eliminate competition among suppliers of liquid aluminum sulfate to municipalities and pulp and paper companies in the United States, DOJ announced.
Vincent J. Opalewski, former president, vice president and general manager of a water treatment chemicals manufacturer headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and Brian C. Steppig, director of sales and marketing of a water treatment chemicals manufacturer headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana, were the second and third executives charged in connection with the conspiracy, which sought to eliminate competition for contracts to supply liquid aluminum sulfate. Liquid aluminum sulfate is a coagulant used by municipalities to treat drinking and waste water and by pulp and paper companies in their manufacturing processes. >>Read More Back
On February 26th, 2016, drug manufacturer Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC sold the rights and assets for two generic drugs, and relinquished its U.S. marketing rights to a third generic drug, in order to settle FTC charges that Hikma’s proposed $2 billion acquisition of Roxane would likely be anticompetitive.
The proposed consent order required the companies to divest to Pennsylvania-based Renaissance Pharma, Inc. three strengths of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant prednisone tablets and all strengths of lithium carbonate capsules, used to treat bipolar disorder. The order also required Hikma to relinquish to its drug development partner, India-based Unimark Remedies Ltd., the rights to market flecainide acetate tablets in the United States. Flecainide is used to prevent and treat abnormally fast heart rhythms. >>Read More Back
On January 8th, 2016, the European Commission (―EC‖) approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of TNT Express by FedEx Corporation. Following an in-depth investigation opened in July 2015, EC concluded that the acquisition would not give rise to competition concerns, because FedEx and TNT are not particularly close competitors and because the merged entity would continue to face sufficient competition from its rivals in all markets concerned.
FedEx and TNT are two out of four so-called 'integrators' currently operating in the small package delivery sector in Europe. Integrators are companies that control a comprehensive air and road small package delivery network and are capable of offering a broad portfolio of reliable delivery services. The other integrators are Europe-based DHL, owned by Deutsche Post, and US-based UPS. The in-depth investigation opened by EC into FedEx's takeover of TNT Express was prompted by concerns that the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in certain markets for international deliveries of small packages up to 31.5kg in the European Economic Area (EEA). >>Read More Back
On January 12th, 2016, EC opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether the proposed acquisition of oilfield service supplier Baker Hughes by rival Halliburton would impede effective competition in breach of the EU Merger Regulation.
The takeover would bring together the world's second and third largest oilfield service suppliers, thus eliminating one of the three current main global competitors (i.e. Halliburton, Baker Hughes and market leader Schlumberger). Halliburton and Baker Hughes supply a broad range of tools and services for drilling and evaluation as well as completion and production of oil and gas wells. Both areas include a wide range of specific product and service lines. EC's preliminary investigation indicated serious potential competition concerns in more than 30 product and service lines, both offshore and onshore. In particular, the investigation revealed that Halliburton and Baker Hughes seem to be close competitors, both in terms of tenders and in innovation. >>Read More Back
On January 27th, 2016, EC imposed fines of € 137,789,000 on Melco (Mitsubishi Electric) and Hitachi for participating in a cartel for alternators and starters with another firm, Denso, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Denso was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to EC. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.
For more than five years, the three Japanese car parts manufacturers coordinated prices and allocated customers or projects with regards to alternators and starters, two important components of car engines. EC's investigation revealed that between September 2004 and February 2010 the companies met at each other's offices and in restaurants and were in contact over the phone on a regular basis, in order to limit competition between them. In particular the three companies: a) coordinated their responses to certain calls for tenders issued by car manufacturers, in particular with respect to determining the price at which they would tender and who should win the specific business; b) shared out certain vehicle manufacturers and projects between themselves in terms of which of the three would supply alternators and starters; and c) exchanged commercially sensitive information such as price elements and market strategies. >>Read More Back
On February 4th, 2016, EC approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of data storage manufacturer SanDisk by rival Western Digital, both of the US, after concluding the takeover would not adversely affect competition in Europe. Western Digital and SanDisk both provide computer storage solutions, such as hard disk drives or solid state drives based on flash memory, for the consumer electronics and enterprise markets.
EC found that the overlap between the activities of the companies was effectively limited to the market for enterprise space for flash memory storage solutions, and the transaction did not raise competition concerns. In particular, strong and established players such as Intel, Toshiba, Micron and Samsung are active on the market and will continue to exert competitive pressure on the merged entity. EC also investigated the vertical link between SanDisk's activities in the production of flash memory and the downstream markets for enterprise flash memory storage solutions. Therefore, EC concluded that the merged entity would be unable to shut out competitors from access to flash memory and that competing producers of flash memory would still have a sufficient customer base. >>Read More Back
On February 4th, 2016, following an in-depth investigation, EC approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of BASE, a Belgian mobile network operator, by Liberty Global. The approval was conditional upon the implementation of commitments to ensure effective competition in the Belgian retail mobile market.
The transaction would bring together BASE, one of Belgium's three mobile network operators, with Telenet, a Belgian cable operator controlled by Liberty Global that also offered mobile services as a mobile virtual network operator. Mobile virtual network operators did not own a network of their own but rented that of other operators.>>Read More Back
On February 10th, 2016, following an in-depth review, EC approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of office supplies distributor Office Depot by Staples, subject to the
divestment of Office Depot's contract distribution business in Europe and entire business in Sweden.
Staples and Office Depot, both of the US, supply office products such as stationery, paper and printer supplies (e.g. toner and ink cartridges) in several European countries. Office products are marketed through a number of sales channels such as wholesale, contract sales and online sales. EC concluded that the commitments remove the entire overlap between the merging companies in all markets where concerns were raised, thus ensuring that an important alternative will remain available on these highly concentrated markets. >>Read More Back
On February 25th, 2016, EC conditionally approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of dental equipment supplier Sirona by Dentsply, both of the US. The decision was conditional in particular upon the extension of licensing agreements between Sirona and its current suppliers of CAD/CAM ("computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing") blocks used in its chairside CAD/CAM systems. These systems are used by dentists to manufacture dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, veneers and inlays out of the CAD/CAM blocks.
Based on its investigation, EC concluded that the transaction, as initially notified, would potentially give the merged entity the ability and incentives to exclude competitors by closing Sirona's chairside CAD/CAM system to other block providers to favour its own blocks. Currently Denstply's offer in chairside CAD/CAM blocks was limited but the investigation showed that it could be expanded in the near future to replace other CAD/CAM blocks suppliers. This could lead to higher prices for CAD/CAM blocks, which would be paid by dentists and ultimately result in higher costs for patients in need of dental restoration work. >>Read More Back
On February 26th, 2016, EC opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Arianespace by Airbus Safran Launchers (ASL) under the EU Merger Regulation.
Arianespace is the global leader for launches of commercial satellites to geostationary transfer orbits. In addition, Arianespace has a de facto monopoly in the European markets for institutional launches. For its services, Arianespace uses launchers produced by three different companies, including the Ariane launcher manufactured by ASL. ASL was a 50/50 joint venture controlled by Airbus and Safran. Airbus is also one of the leading satellite manufacturers worldwide. Both Airbus and ASL were manufacturers of payload adapters and dispensers, which are components sourced and used by launch service providers. EC concerned that the proposed transaction might result in less innovation and higher prices in the satellite and launch service markets. >>Read More Back
On February 23rd, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (―ACCC‖) suspended the review timelines for its consideration of both:
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This was due to the announcement this morning of a potential transaction under which the Brookfield Consortium and the Qube Consortium would together facilitate the acquisition of 100% of the issued capital of Asciano. >>Read More Back
On February 23rd, Chairman Rod Sims today announced the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s compliance and enforcement priorities at a CEDA event in Sydney.
―In the area of competition law, we will continue to take a strong line on cartel conduct, anti-competitive conduct and practices, and where we can, misuse of market power.‖ Mr Sims said.
On January 6th, 2016, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (―KFTC‖) imposed a KRW 1,221,000,000.00 fine on Gastopia for holding 16.82% shares of the Korea Daesung Industrial.
As the subsidiary of Daesung, Gastopia shall not hold shares of any corporation other than subsidiary’s holding company. However, in December 2013, it acquired 16.82% shares of Daesung (4,814,462 shares, KRW 21.808 billion). After that, in August 2014, Gastopia eliminated this illegal situation by transfering the shares to its affiliated company Daesung Group Partners. >>Read More Back
On January 11th, 2016, the KFTC fined driving company-- Banapeul (transliteration) and imposed a fine of KRW 400,000,000.
Through designated driver system—Logi Banapeul provided the information to designated drivers directly. From February to August 2012, Banapeul provided rebates by exempting designated drivers from the charge of designated driver system, on condition that designated drivers stop registering on its competitors systems. Banapeul excluded the competitors from fair competition and limited options of designated drivers.
On January 28th, 2016, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (―JFTC‖) received the notification regarding the proposed the acquisition of equity of Tokyo Kohtetsu Co., Ltd. by Osaka Steel Co., Ltd. (Osaka Steel).
In accordance with the regulations of Antimonopoly Act, JFTC reviewed the acquisition and reached the conclusion that competition in any particular fields of trade is unlikely to be substantially restrained. Therefore, JFTC notified Osaka Steel that it would not issue a cease and desist order, and would complete the censorship. >>Read More Back
On January 6th, 2016, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (―CADE‖) opened an administrative proceeding to investigate alleged anticompetitive conducts by the Brazilian Post Office-ECT.
The investigation was initiated with a complaint by the association–SETCESP, alleging that ECT had been engaged in two anticompetitive conducts.
According with the association, ECT would have been trying to extend its legal monopoly on the delivery of letters to other products. The ECT would have been allegedly excluding from the market competitors that delivered those products by means of sham litigation.
Another irregularity, according to SETCESP, would have been the practice of higher prices by ECT to attend competitor as clients, when compared to the lower prices charged from non-competitors for the same products. >>Read More Back
On February 23rd, 2016, CADE opened administrative proceeding to investigate an alleged international cartel, with the effects in Brazil, in the market of maritime transportation of automobiles.
According to CADE, there was robust evidence that the anticompetitive conduct would have been practiced by some companies of maritime transportation of the world. The alleged conduct would have the objective to allocate clients, in such a way to keep the established relationship for each company with its main client, as well as to maintain or increase prices, to boycott clients’ solicitations for prices reductions. >>Read More Back
On February 25th, 2016, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (―FAS‖) opened a case against several entities upon elements of bid-rigging at tenders for supplying and repairing the means of communications for the needs of the Russian Ministry of Interior and the Federal Security Service.
Having analyzed the obtained information, FAS verified that the above economic entities imitated competition between themselves to get government contracts at the highest possible prices at the tenders.
The antimonopoly body also verified that cartel participants operated from the same IP-address, using the same address to file bids and price offers, and the same person prepared the bids documents for several participants to the agreement. >>Read More Back
On February 9th, 2016, the Competition Commission of India (―CCI‖) dismissed antitrust complaints against OlaCabs.
Mega Cabs Private had alleged that ANI Technologies, operating under the brand name Ola, entered into anticompetitive agreements with the taxi drivers registered on its network, affecting market competition.
Upon investigation, the regulator said the allegations raised by Mega Cabs contradicted the basic tenets of competition law. The inability of existing players or new entrants to match an innovative technology or app developed by any player or the model created for operating in a particular industry cannot be deemed as creating entry barriers. >>Read More Back
On February 11th, 2016, South Africa Competition Commission (―SACC‖) recommended to the Tribunal that the proposed large merger between Tegeta Exploration and Resources (Pty) Ltd (Tegeta) and Optimum Coal Mine (Pty) Ltd (OCM) and six other target firms be approved with conditions. On completion of the transaction, Tegeta would acquire control over the target firms.
Upon investigation, SACC found that merging parties are smaller players in this market and face competition from larger rivals such as Anglo American, Exxaro Coal and South 32 Ltd. And, there are credible alternative suppliers of thermal coal that will continue to constrain the merging parties post-merger.
Meanwhile, SACC found that the proposed merger raises public interest concerns, in particular the likelihood of job losses. In this regard, SACC recommended that the proposed transaction be approved on condition that the merging parties will not retrench any employees of the target firms as a result of the merger.
On February 2nd, 2016, the Price Supervision and Anti-monopoly Bureau of NDRC issued the Guidelines for Application of the Leniency Regime in Cases of Horizontal Monopoly Agreements (Exposure Draft), and solicited public opinions.
The Guidelines not only stipulated material required for applying, preliminary reports, form of application and other essential conditions that the undertaking needs to satisfy for applying, but also stipulated the procedures for undertaking to apply for leniency, such as accepting authority and registration process. In addition, the Guidelines focused on the stipulation of the factors for examination and reviewing by the enforcement authority, and operation methods for the exemption and reduction on penalty of undertakings. >>Read More Back
On February 2nd, 2016, NDRC issued the Guidelines for Undertakings’ Commitments in Antitrust Cases (Exposure Draft), and solicited public opinions.
The Guidelines stipulated the application scope of the commitment system, and the anti-monopoly enforcement authority shall not accept commitment proposals or suspend investigation if a case involves horizontal agreement, such as price fixing, production or sales restrictions, division of sales market or material purchasing. In addition, based on existing provisions of law, the Guidelines provided the procedures of undertakings’ commitment in detail, including main rights and obligations for the undertakings involved and the enforcement authority. It also clarified the contents and legal consequences of the decision of suspending or terminating the investigation, and the condition and punishment of resuming the investigation. >>Read More Back
On March 23rd, 2016, the Price Supervision and Anti-monopoly Bureau of NDRC issued Antitrust Guidelines for Auto Industry (Exposure Draft), and solicited public opinions from March 23rd to April 12th, 2016.
The Guidelines explicitly stipulated basic definitions of auto industry, including automobile supplier, automobile distributors, automobile maintenance service providers and auto accessory manufacturers, and explained the definition and analysis methods of relevant market in the auto industry. In addition, the Guideline also stipulated the circumstances regarding the undertakings in violation of AML and in practice how to define the conduct of the undertakings meet the condition of case exemption through monopoly agreements, abuse of market dominate position and concentration of undertakings.
In accordance with the Guidelines, there is no significant difference regarding the horizontal monopoly between auto industry and other industries. It focuses on the conduct of vertical monopoly agreements and abuse of market dominant position in automobile distribution market and automotive aftermarket. >>Read More Back
On February 4th, 2016, the Anti-monopoly and Anti-unfair Competition Enforcement Bureau of SAIC issued the Guidelines for Anti-monopoly Law Enforcement against the Abuse of Intellectual Property Right (the seventh draft of SAIC), and solicited public opinions.
Main contents of the Draft Guidelines includes,
- General principles, including the relationship between anti-monopoly and the protection of IPR, enforcement principles, analytical factors, analytical procedures and so forth;
- Relevant market identification, including general identification principle and the specific rules of the identification of relevant production market, technology market and innovation market;
- Monopoly agreements related to IPR, including pricing restriction, output restriction, market division, research and development restraints, boycott, exclusive grant-back and so
- Abuse of dominant market position related IPR, including the identification of dominant market position, licensing IPR with unfair price, tied sales related to IPR and so forth;
- Analysis on some specific IPR acts, including monopoly acts related to standard formulation and implement, patent pool and the acts of collective copyright management organization. >>Read More Back
On January 21st, 2016, as required by law, the FTC revised the monetary thresholds that determine whether companies are required to notify federal antitrust authorities about a transaction under Section 7A of the Clayton Act.
The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, Section 7A of the Clayton Act, requires companies proposing a merger or acquisition to notify federal authorities if the size of the parties involved and the value of a transaction exceed certain monetary thresholds, absent an applicable exemption. The FTC revises the thresholds set forth in the HSR Act annually, based on the change in the gross national product. As a result of this revision, the size-of-transaction threshold for reporting proposed mergers and acquisitions subject to antitrust enforcement would increase from $76.3 million for 2015 to $78.2 million for 2016. >>Read More Back
On February 18th, 2016, CADE published the English version of Guidelines on Competition Compliance Programs on its website. The document received the public opinions during the second semester of 2015.
Elaborated by the authority, the Guidelines detail the required actions for a sound compliance program and which benefits were brought to companies that implement them. The suggestions may help in preventing abusive practices that were prejudicial not only to a specific entity, but also to their competitors. >>Read More Back
On February 5th, 2016, Chambers announced its 2016 PRC law firm and lawyer rankings. 27 practice areas and 48 practitioners of Zhong Lun Law Firm were recommended. 17 practice areas of the firms were ranked Band 1, such as Competition/Antitrust, Banking & Finance, Corporate/M&A and Dispute Resolution. Zhong Lun achieved a new height of success and remained the PRC law firm with most Band 1 rankings by Chambers for the fifth consecutive year since 2012.
Chambers Asia-Pacific 2016 is the result of thorough research conducted by Chambers’ professional research team based on interviews of over one thousand lawyers and clients, providing an accurate and nuanced guidance for the Asia Pacific legal market. >>Read More Back
On February 26th, 2016, American Lawyer Media (―ALM‖) announced the list of 2016 Asian Legal Awards. Wu Peng, Partner of Zhong Lun law firm, was awarded with 2016 Asian Law Firm Leader of the Year.
Mr. Wu specializes in antitrust and competition law and M&A. As a well-known antitrust expert in China, Wu has constantly been recommended by professional legal rating agencies including Chambers. Since he went back to work in China, Wu has provided legal service for dozens of famous multinational corporations, and work in Japanese perfectly.
The selection was jointly made by the American Lawyer under American Lawyer Media and the Asian Lawyer, aiming at honoring the achievement of top lawyers, law firms and in-house legal counsels. >>Read More Back
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