The United States and China have both fired warning shots on the growing field of bilateral trade disputes, though the most significant battle is likely still weeks away. While both sides have announced proposed tariffs on $50 billion in imports in relation to the USTR’s investigation into China’s intellectual property and technology transfer policies, neither will be implemented immediately.
Enforcement of China’s Antimonopoly Law (AML)—an ongoing priority for the US-China Business Council (USCBC) and the business community—has remained prominent in recent bilateral discussions. AML-related issues featured among the outcomes reached during last month’s state visit to the United States by Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as in USCBC meetings in Beijing with senior officials from China’s three antitrust agencies.
In a move towards transparency, Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Director General Shang Ming met with various groups in Washington, DC, last week to discuss China’s antitrust and competition policy priorities for 2015. Members of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) met with MOFCOM’s head of competition policy in a small roundtable format to discuss recent enforcement trends, and elaborate on continued company concerns in this issue area, including lengthy review times for global mergers and acquisitions and non-competitive factors being used in review processes.
Although foreign companies have seen a slowdown in competition investigations over the last several months, new data released on April 3 from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) shows that the agency’s reviews of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions continue to rise. Data through the end of last year showed that the number of M&A reviews conducted by MOFCOM had risen nearly every year since the 2008 launch of the Antimonopoly Law, from 17 reviews in 2008 to 241 deals