作者:郭欢Meg Utterback、陈起超、董梦、刘学朋、王丹(公司业务部)

 

 

 

在拜登政府的执政下,近期美国各联邦行政部门动态不断,司法部、财政部、商务部等都相继宣布要加强维护美国国家安全。美国司法部副部长办公室高级成员John Carlin于10月6日对白领辩护律师发表讲话时称,司法部将投入新的资源和工具,打击境内外企业及其高管损害美国国家安全的不当行为,同时将“加倍”致力于对白领犯罪的执法;美国财政部于10月18日发布了《2021年制裁审查报告》,进一步肯定了经济制裁措施对维护美国国家安全的作用;商务部也于10月21日公布了拟针对网络安全的出口管制新规则(目前该规则正在公众意见收集期)。同时,拜登政府也不断扩大美国国际影响力,通过寻求盟友协助、试图加强跨境执法合作,并且不断利用美国惯用的“长臂管辖”制裁“竞争对手”,这些都将成为未来中国企业及高管需要重点关注的风险点。尤其是美国以国家安全为由、寻求盟友以此为契机大力加强针对白领犯罪的相关执法,或将成为美国通过长臂管辖原则打击外国企业,特别是中国企业的新焦点。

 

Written By:Molly Su,Lv Yani,Li Zi’an,Zhang Wanying (Finance & Securities Group)

 

 

 

As the topic of ‘carbon neutrality’ continues to heat up around the world, demands for ‘carbon reduction’ from governments, investment institutions and multinational enterprises are increasingly passing down the chain, which will encourage more enterprises to take substantive actions to accelerate the energy-saving and emission-reduction targets. In line with the global trend, governments in the European Union, the United States and Canada are preparing to adopt a proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which will put a carbon price on imports of a targeted selection of products so that ambitious climate action in such country does not lead to ‘carbon leakage’. Some multinational enterprises are also announcing the ‘carbon reduction commitment’, which aims at reducing the carbon emissions on their global supply chain. For example, a well-known multinational company requires its suppliers to improve energy efficiency and cut emissions, otherwise, the suppliers will face the risk of being removed from the supplier list. Many internationally renowned investment institutions have also taken actions and are committed to ‘emission reduction’ for their investment portfolios.

However, due to the limitations of existing science and technology, carbon neutrality through technological innovation will not happen overnight. Apart from controlling total carbon emissions through technological innovation and capacity structure optimization, how to use market-oriented measures to fulfill the responsibility of ‘emission reduction’ at the lowest cost will become a key aspect of the carbon neutrality strategy. As introduced in our previous series of articles on carbon finance, with the improvement of China national carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS), China is expected to surpass the European Union and become the world’s largest centralised carbon emissions trading market. A growing number of foreign investors are turning their attention to China ETS markets. This article aims to sort out the feasible path for foreign investors to directly participate in the cross-border green equity transactions via domestic exchanges.

1.Opening up of PRC carbon emissions trading market to foreign investors

The domestic carbon emissions exchanges generally adopt a membership system, market participants may directly conduct relevant transactions at the exchange if they satisfy the prescribed conditions and have been approved by the exchange, or they can choose to participate in carbon emissions trading through the brokerage members (such as some professional carbon investment institutions). Take Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange as an example, investors can open accounts with brokerage members and authorize a brokerage member that trades at the exchange to conduct trading and clearing activities. Whether foreign investors can apply to become transaction members of the exchanges or indirectly access to ETS through brokerage members is subject to the rules and regulations of the exchanges.

As we introduced in our previous Article Green Equity: Prospects for Chinese Carbon Emission Products and Carbon Financial Markets, the domestic ETS has not yet been opened to foreign investors at the current stage, only some regional pilot markets such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hubei ETS allow foreign investors to access to regional pilot carbon trading market.

Additionally, for the question of whether foreign investors can participate in trading through brokerage members of the relevant exchange, only Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange expressly stipulates that the brokerage members are only permitted to provide brokerage services to domestic investors rather than foreign investors.

Beyond the internal rules of the domestic exchanges mentioned above, whether foreign investors should also be subject to the practical business processes of the specific exchange. For example, we understand that although Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading Membership of the Sichuan United Environment Exchange (for Trial Implementation) explicitly stipulates to accept the member applications from domestic and overseas institutions, in practice, whether Sichuan United Environment Exchange would approve foreign investors’ participation in transactions at the exchange is still subject to the approval of its superior authority.

exchange foreign investors can/ cannot access to PRC domestic ETS market relevant rules
National Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme Exchange ×

Measures for the Administration of Trading of Carbon Emissions (for Trial Implementation)

Article 4: Traders of carbon emissions across the country shall include key emitting entities as well as institutions and individuals that comply with the relevant trading rules of the state.

* In practice, the national ETS does not allow foreign investors to participate in carbon emissions trading at the initial stage.

China Beijing Environment Exchange ×

Measures for Membership Administration of Beijing Environment Exchange Co., Ltd. (Revised) does not explicitly wipe out foreign investors from applying for membership.

Measures of the Beijing Environment Exchange for the Eligibility Management of Investors in Carbon Emission Trading (for Trial Implementation)

Article 7: The exchange may, in the light of the characteristics of carbon emission trading products and investors’ risk tolerance capabilities, reasonably set the qualification conditions for investors who are allowed to participate in the trading, and know the basic information and risk tolerance capabilities of investors. The qualification conditions for investors include but are not limited to financial position, knowledge level related to the project field and investment experience, etc. If it is otherwise provided in laws, regulations, and trading rules of the exchange, such provisions shall prevail.

Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange ×

Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading Membership of Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange (for Trial Implementation)

Article 8: Whoever applies for self-operating membership shall meet the following conditions and provide relevant certification materials: (i) Enterprise legal persons or other economic organizations registered within the territory of the People’s Republic of China; …

Implementing Measures of the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange for the Eligibility Management of Investors in Carbon Emission Trading (for Trial Implementation)

Article 5: Institutional investors applying for participation in carbon emission allowance trading shall meet the following conditions: (i) enterprise legal persons or other economic organizations registered within the territory of the People’s Republic of China; …

Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading Membership of Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange (for Trial Implementation)

Article 26: To conduct carbon emissions trading, members shall open an account and register at the managing members’ registry office and submit the following materials: …(ii) the certification document: business license, organization code certificate and tax registration certificate; …

Tianjin Climate Exchange ×uncertainty in practice

Measures for the Administration of Carbon Emissions Trading Membership of Tianjin Climate Exchange

Article 2: Exchange members shall meet the following qualifications: Chinese-owned and controlled enterprises established by law.

Rules of Tianjin Climate Exchange on Carbon Emission Trading (for Trial Implementation)

Article 8: Domestic and foreign institutions, enterprises, groups and individuals that satisfy the requirements of the exchange may participate in the carbon emissions trading in Tianjin. Before entering the exchange for trading, trading members and the approved institutions shall apply for appropriate seats and trading rights and become trading participants.

Chongqing Carbon Emissions Trading Center × Detailed Trading Rules of Chongqing United Assets and Equity Exchange on Carbon Emission Trading (for Trial Implementation) does not explicitly restrict foreign investors from applying for membership.
China Emissions Exchange (Shenzhen)

Rules of China Emissions Exchange(Shenzhen)  on Membership Management (for Trial Implementation)

Article 30: The membership application of the foreign investors shall be handled following the requirements of the Operational Guidelines for foreign investors Applying for Membership Qualification of China Emissions Exchange (Shenzhen).

China Emissions Exchange Guangzhou (CEEX)

Measures of China Emissions Exchange Guangzhou for Membership Management (Revised in 2017)

Article 5: Institutions that meet the following conditions may apply for membership: (i) legal persons or other organizations who are established in accordance with the applicable laws; (ii) have good business credit; and (iii) comply with the relevant provisions of the competent authority for carbon trading.

China Hubei Emission Exchange

Rules of China Hubei Emission Exchange on Carbon Emissions Trading

Article 7: Market participants shall be members of the exchange, including domestic and foreign institutions, enterprises, organizations and individuals (except for the independent verification institutions and settlement banks), all of which may participate in transactions of eligible products approved by the exchange.

Sichuan United Environment Exchange

subject to the approval of the superior authority

Measures for Membership Administration of the Sichuan United Environment Exchange on Carbon Emissions Trading (for Trial Implementation)

Article 2: the members mentioned in these Measures refer to domestic and foreign institutions, enterprises, groups and individuals that are established and existing in accordance with the law.

Haixia Equity Exchange limited to HK, Macau and Taiwan legal persons

Measures of Haixia Equity Exchange on Membership Management for Carbon Emission Trading (Revised in 2017)

Article 4: An enterprise legal person that meets the following conditions may apply for trading membership: (i) Enterprise legal persons registered within the territory of the People’s Republic of China;

Kindly Note: the table above sets out are for reference purposes only, and the final result is subject to the processing of the relevant pilot ETS.

2.Eligible Carbon Emissions Products for trading by foreign investors

2.1   Carbon Emission Allowance

For regional pilot ETS that accept foreign investors’ participation in carbon emissions trading, the eligible product is limited to carbon emissions allowance which is issued by the local ecological environment authorities of the pilot areas. Foreign investors may access the pilot ETS after the membership approval process of the specific ETS.

According to public information, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) issued an official reply to the Shenzhen Branch of SAFE on August 8th, 2014, approving foreign investors participating in the Shenzhen carbon market, making Shenzhen carbon market the first one open to foreign investors in China carbon market. Moreover, it is the first reply specifically issued by the nation to the local platform without any restrictions on foreign investment. Innovation in Qianhai leads international cooperation and regional development in the national carbon market. In addition, there is no quota or currency restriction for foreign investors to participate in the Shenzhen carbon emissions trade market. In September 2014, Ginga Environment, a Singaporean company, successfully purchased 10000 tons of Shenzhen carbon allowance.

On this basis, China Emissions Exchange (Shenzhen) has also introduced cross-border carbon asset sellout – repurchase product, under which foreign investors use foreign capital to participate in the Shenzhen carbon emissions trade market, and enterprises that have carbon assets can obtain foreign funds for low-carbon development of enterprises. On 19 March 2016, China Emissions Exchange (Shenzhen) launched the first domestic cross-border carbon asset sellout-repurchase financing transaction.

2.2 China Certified Emission Reduction (CCER)

In principle, foreign investors may participate in CCER trading by applying to become a member of the regional pilot ETS. However, subject to the current restrictive provision that the China Certified Emission Reduction Exchange Registration System only accepts an enterprise legal person who is registered in Mainland China as a registered user, foreign investors are still unable to complete registration of ownership transfer for CCER trading through the China Certified Emission Reduction Exchange Registration System. As a result, foreign investors are unlikely to participate in CCER trading through the exchanges.

On August 6, 2021, Beijing Environment Exchange invited bids for the development of the registration system for CCER, which provides that Beijing Environment Exchange will lead the establishment of a national CCER trading centre. It is expected that the national CCER market will gradually establish and open to foreign investors in the long term. Meanwhile, the Ministry for Ecology and Environment (MEE) mentions that‘… rules on CCER management will be issued separately… ’ in the explanation for the preparation of the Administrative Measures for the Registration, Trading, and Settlement of the National. Carbon Emission (Trial)‘, which may provide an opportunity for foreign investors to participate in CCER trading in the future. We will continue to focus on the entry requirements for foreign investors of the national CCER market.

exchange foreign investors can/cannot access to PRC domestic ETS market eligible trading products
China Emissions Exchange (Shenzhen) SZEA
China Emissions Exchange Guangzhou (CEEX) GDEA
China Hubei Emission Exchange HBEA
Sichuan United Environment Exchange Subject to the approval of superior authorities N/A
Haixia Equity Exchange limited to HK, Macau and Taiwan legal persons FJEA

Kindly Note: the table above sets out are for reference purposes only the final result is subject to the processing of the relevant pilot ETS.

3.Account opening and cross-border settlement by foreign investors

3.1 Settlement in RMB

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) released the Notice on Further Improving Policies for Cross-border RMB Business to Facilitate Trade and Investments (Yin Fa [2018] No.3, hereinafter “Notice”) clarifying the procedures for foreign investors using RMB cross-border settlement for carbon emissions trading in China, which encourages carbon emissions trading in RMB in China. Foreign investors conduct carbon emissions trading in RMB through domestic ETS shall, in accordance with the Measures for Administration of RMB Settlement Accounts of Overseas Institutions ( No. 249 [2010] of the PBOC) and the Notice of the People’s Bank of China on Issues Concerning the Opening and Use of RMB Settlement Accounts of Overseas Institutions (No. 183) [2012] of the PBOC) and other applicable regulations, opening RMB special deposit accounts for carbon trading at banks (mostly NRA account in practice) and process fund receipt and payment under the account of carbon emission trading. According to the market information, there have been practices in Guangzhou that use RMB for cross-border settlement in carbon emissions trading.

3.2 Settlement in Foreign Exchange

Under the provisions of Circular of the General Affairs Department of the SAFE on the Operation of Foreign Exchange Business Concerning Cross-border Trade in Environmental Interests Including CO2 Emissions Reductions (No. 151 [2010] of the General Affairs Department of the SAFE), for the business demand for settlement and sale of foreign exchange and cross-border payment arising from the cross-border trading of sale or purchase of carbon dioxide emission reductions and other similar environmental rights and interests, the domestic institutions and the overseas institutions may, by bringing the effective documents, directly go to the designated foreign exchange bank to do such business.

In the meantime, according to the requirements of Notice by the General Affairs Department of the SAFE of Reviewing and Integrating Certain Foreign Exchange Accounts (No. 73 [2020] of the General Affairs Department of the SAFE), the “capital account—foreign exchange account for transactions in environmental rights and interests (2107)” shall be included in “capital account—asset monetization account (2103) ” and Article 6.7 “opening, account entry and use of the asset monetization account” of the Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Business under Capital Account (2020 Version), and the relevant provisions and operating guidelines on the account for realization of assets under the trading of environmental rights and interests, which further specify the foreign exchange revenue and expenditure accounts applicable to foreign investors when they participate in trading of environmental rights and interests such as carbon dioxide emission reductions through domestic institutions such as environment exchanges, emission exchanges and forest rights exchanges and the specific requirements thereof. However, foreign investors’ participation in local carbon emission trading is still an innovative business in practice. It is advisable to fully communicate with the local branch of the SAFE before carrying out the specific business.

Besides, Shenzhen and Hubei province have obtained official replies from the SAFE on foreign exchange business for foreign investors participating in local carbon emission trading. The Hubei branch of the SAFE has also formulated a supporting system for the management of trading funds of foreign investors, the Interim Measures for the Foreign Exchange Administration of Foreign investors Participating in the Trading of Carbon Emission in Hubei (No. 26 [2015] of the Hubei branch of the SAFE), which stipulates that domestic and foreign investors can participate in the trading of carbon emission through special accounts opened by the China Hubei Emission Exchange with depository banks in foreign exchange or cross-border RMB.

According to No. 26 [2015] of the Hubei branch of the SAFE, foreign investors may apply to the depository bank for opening an NRA account specially used for the trading of carbon emission by presenting the agreement signed with China Hubei Emission Exchange. The account may be a multi-currency account. The foreign investors shall deposit, remit or import the funds required for participating in the trading of carbon emission through the NRA account opened with the depository bank, and participate in the trading of carbon emission through the “capital account – special foreign exchange account for other capital accounts” opened by the China Hubei Emission Exchange with the domestic cooperative bank. An overseas investor may only open one NRA account for a single currency.

Meanwhile, the China Hubei Emission Exchange may apply to the depository bank for opening a special capital account (the code of the account is 2499), while the domestic investor may open a “capital account – foreign exchange account for trading of environmental rights and interests (the code of the account is 2199)” for retaining the foreign exchange income under the cross-border carbon emission trading to meet the requirements for the transfer and separation of funds for the trading among the participants. The specific flow of funds is shown as follows:

4.Conclusion

The development of China carbon market is regarded as the wind vane of global in using of market mechanism to help enterprises to mitigate the carbon emissions reduction pressure and achieve reduction goals. Taking the opportunity of ‘carbon neutrality’ to attract more potential domestic and foreign investors and possessing rich experience in carbon trading and carbon assets management, would enhance the liquidity of the domestic carbon market, which is better to discover the effective carbon price and then guide the investment decision of covered entities to curb the emissions. Besides the exchange-trading opportunities of green equity and interests designed for foreign investors introduced in this article, we are devoted to sorting out the detailed guidance and practical procedures to advise the foreign investors on how to participate in other cross-border trading of green equity and interests in the next article of this series for your attention.

Many thanks to interns Yijing Duan and Jiawen Qian for their input to this article.

作者:胡耀华 张越(公司业务部)

 

 

 

知情权是投资人的一项重要权利,这一点不论是在公开证券市场,还是在私募股权投资,抑或是在私募基金中,都是如此。特别是在私募基金中,管理人实际负责私募基金的募集和运作,私募基金和投资项目的信息都掌握在管理人手中,为缓和投资人和管理人信息不对称的问题,保障私募基金的合规运作,管理人必须向投资人进行信息披露。但是,披露多少?如何披露?信息披露合规的边界在哪里?私募基金管理人也时刻面临着这些问题。我们将在本文介绍中国证券投资基金业协会(“AMAC”)对于私募股权基金(“基金”)在募集和运作过程中的信息披露合规要求,以期为基金管理人和投资人提供一些有益的借鉴。

作者:叶永青 王一骁 骆盼(合规业务部)

 

 

 

X公司(“X平台”)是一家物流平台企业,是交通部认定的“无车承运人”试点企业,并在2020年申请取得了经营范围为“网络货运”的道路运输经营许可。其主要业务模式为:X公司自身不拥有货运人员和车辆,而是建立并运营了某网络货运APP,托运方和个人车主(或具有调配货车资源能力的第三方调度、车队长等)经注册成为会员后,可以在APP上发布或对接需求,双方就运输价格达成一致后,由X平台以承运人身份与托运方签署一份运输服务协议,再与个人车主(或调度、车队长)签署一份运输服务协议,最终由个人车主实际承运货物。X平台根据实际承运人与托运方商定收取的实际运费,X平台向托运方收取实际运费和服务费(按照运费的一定比例收取)后,向实际承运人支付实际运费。在实际运作中,运费的支付可能因为经营需要存在代收代付或者垫付的情况。在运输完成后,X平台根据从交通运输部门获取的轨迹资料和各方进行结算并开具业务发票。

作者:刘成 李雨濛 洪露申 王梦真 叶弘韬(公司业务部)

 

 

 

昨日,全国人大常委会对社会公布《中华人民共和国反垄断法(修正草案)》(“《修正草案》”),以广泛征求意见[1]。该草案已经于2021年10月19日提请第十三届全国人大常委会第三十一次会议进行初次审议。这是在2020年初市场监管总局就此前一稿反垄断法修订草案公开征求意见后,全国人大常委会又针对本次审议稿公开征求意见。在我国强化反垄断执法的大背景下,反垄断法的修订工作可能会加速完成。

总览《修正草案》,体现了如下特点:

  • 明确竞争政策的基础地位和公平竞争审查制度的法律地位。在法律层面明确建立健全公平审查制度,要求充实监管力量,加强反垄断执法。
  • 针对目前反垄断法实施过程中存在的突出问题,完善了相关制度。比如,对于固定转售价格、限制最低转售价格的纵向垄断协议,针对之前其规制思路上的争议,明确了经营者能够证明其不具有排除、限制竞争效果的,不予禁止。
  • 与时俱进,规范与发展并重,为新兴问题的规制创设法律依据。比如,《修正草案》讨论了互联网领域涉及的数据、算法、技术、平台规则的特殊问题,指出企业可能存在的滥用市场支配地位行为。
  • 加大处罚力度,健全执法体制。比如,《修正草案》对于经营者集中未依法申报提高罚款金额,并对垄断行为的实施增加个人责任。这将进一步提高反垄断法的震慑力,维护市场公平竞争。

在本文中,我们将从十大方面对《修正草案》进行全面解读,协助企业洞悉立法变化,探讨未来规制思路。

一、夯实根基,明确竞争政策的基础地位,公平竞争审查制度写入反垄断法

《修正草案》在总则中明确“国家强化竞争政策基础地位”,突显了竞争政策对市场经济建设的重要性。同时,公平竞争审查制度也首次写入反垄断法。早在2016年6月14日,国务院即发布《关于在市场体系建设中建立公平竞争审查制度的意见》,建立公平竞争审查制度,规范政府有关行为,防止出台排除、限制竞争的政策措施,逐步清理废除妨碍全国统一市场和公平竞争的规定和做法。今年9月,市场监管总局等五部门联合印发《公平竞争审查制度实施细则》,进一步强化公平竞争审查制度的落实。截至目前,市场监管部门已审查新出台政策措施文件85.7万件,纠正违反审查标准的文件4100件;清理存量政策措施文件189万件,废止和修订妨碍全国统一市场和公平竞争的文件近3万件[2]

本次《修正草案》将公平竞争审查制度写入反垄断法,将有助于在国家立法层面进行整体部署,全面推进公平审查制度的落实。这无疑将更好地打击行政垄断,确保市场准入、产业发展、政府采购等政策和规范性文件符合竞争政策要求,从而为市场主体创建公平竞争的市场环境。

二、抓大放小,确立垄断协议的“安全港”制度

《修正草案》首次从立法层面规定了垄断协议的“安全港”制度[3]:经营者能够证明其相关市场的市场份额低于国务院反垄断执法机构规定的标准的,不适用本法第十六条(横向垄断协议)、第十七条(纵向垄断协议)、第十八条(组织其他经营者达成垄断协议或提供实质性帮助)的规定,但有证据证明经营者达成的协议排除、限制竞争的除外。这无疑将为企业开展业务提供了更大的确定性。

此前,《国务院反垄断委员会关于汽车业的反垄断指南》(“《汽车指南》”)[4]、《关于禁止滥用知识产权排除、限制竞争行为的规定》(“《禁止滥用知识产权的规定》”)[5]等规定或指南也在一定程度上构建了以市场份额为基础的“安全港”制度:

适用行为 《汽车指南》 《禁止滥用知识产权的规定》
横向垄断协议 《汽车指南》对横向垄断协议没有设置安全港规则。 具有竞争关系的经营者在相关市场的份额合计不超过20%,或者在相关市场上存在至少四个可以以合理成本得到的其他独立控制的替代性技术,通常经营者行使知识产权行为的协议不被认定为垄断协议。
纵向垄断协议 在相关市场占有30%以下市场份额的经营者可能被推定为不具有显著市场力量。不具有显著市场力量的经营者设置的纵向地域限制和客户限制可以推定豁免。 经营者与交易相对人在相关市场上的市场份额均不超过30%,或者在相关市场上存在至少两个可以以合理成本得到的其他独立控制的替代性技术,通常经营者行使知识产权行为的协议不被认定为垄断协议[6]

解读

  1. 相较之前的规定和指南,《修正草案》首次在法律层面提出“安全港”规则,且其适用范围包括横向协议、纵向协议、以及组织、帮助其他经营者实施协议或提供实质性帮助的情形(轴幅协议),即符合安全港规则的协议,不被认定为第16条、第17条或第18条下规制的协议。
  2. 对于不同协议类型下“安全港”的市场份额标准,将有待国务院反垄断执法机构予以明晰。
  3. 但值得注意的是,即使符合相应的市场份额标准,如果有证据证明经营者达成的协议排除、限制竞争的,相关协议仍将被认定为垄断协议。因此,是否任何类型垄断协议都能基于安全港规则而豁免反垄断责任,尚待观察。比如,2020年1月公布的《反垄断法修订草案(公开征求意见稿)》(“《2020年征求意见稿》”)曾规定横向垄断协议中三种最严重的“核心垄断协议”,即固定价格、分割市场和限制产量或销量,执法过程中不适用中止调查程序。我们理解,其原因即在于这三种协议通常具有排除、限制竞争的效果。因此,这三类协议很可能不适用安全港规则。对于很多企业非常关心的固定转售价格安排,是否在执法中会通常认定为会排除、限制竞争从而不予适用安全港规则,也有待反垄断执法机构予以明确或在执法中表明态度。

三、定分止争,澄清转售价格维持举证责任

《修正草案》将垄断协议的定义从现有的第13条横向垄断协议中移至第二章垄断协议的开篇作为单独一个条款,我们理解其目的是从体例上进一步澄清不论是横向协议还是纵向协议,具有排除和限制竞争效果都应是其构成垄断协议的前提。

对于纵向垄断协议,《修正草案》新增了经营者能够证明固定转售价格和限定最低转售价格的纵向垄断协议不具有排除、限制竞争效果的,将不予禁止。该条文表明反垄断法下禁止的纵向垄断协议(包括转售价格维持),需要具有排除、限制竞争的效果,但是,对于转售价格维持,应由当事人举证,其所从事的协议不具有排除、限制竞争效果。在未来的执法过程中,反垄断执法机关可能会更多地听取企业对于纵向垄断协议竞争效果的陈述和抗辩,双方将就这一问题有机会进行更深入地论证。

对于经营者如何才能证明纵向垄断协议不具有排除、限制竞争的效果,《修正草案》没有给出进一步的指导,有待后续的立法和执法明确。在过往对纵向垄断协议的执法实践中,2021年某药业公司实施垄断协议行为案中曾对企业抗辩纵向协议不具有排除、限制竞争效果提供了详细分析,从中也可以看出,即使企业产品市场份额较低,要成功证明其转售价格维持不具有排除限制竞争效果仍然面临极大的难度:

案例解读

在某药业公司实施垄断协议行为案中[7],针对被调查经营者固定药品转售价格和限定药品最低转售价格的协议,市场监管总局分别从以下三个方面论证了其具有排除、限制竞争的效果,损害消费者和社会利益:第一,从取证获得的公司文件中可以得出当事人具有强烈的固定和限定价格目的;第二,药品零售市场集中度较低,零售终端服务具有同质化特点,当事人及其产品市场优势地位,经销商对当事人重点产品具有一定依赖性。同时,当事人通过各类惩罚措施进一步加强了其协议条款的强制性和惩罚性,使得经销商只能遵守其产品价格要求。第三,固定和限定价格行为显著提高了产品价格,严重损害了消费者合法权益和社会公共利益。

被调查的经营者则对此提出了两点抗辩理由:一是其产品市场份额较低,相关行为不会产生排除、限制竞争的影响,二是产品出厂价(开票价)整体呈现下降趋势,说明市场竞争充分,消费者福利上升。

但最终市场监管总局基于以下三点理由认为上述抗辩理由并不成立:一是国务院反垄断委员会专家咨询组成员召开专家论证会,专家一致认为达成固定转售价格和限定最低转售价格协议目的就是为了消除竞争,具有排除、限制竞争的影响,对此类协议的适用原则依法为原则禁止加例外豁免。二是出厂价更多关系到生产厂家和经销商之间的利益划分,零售价才是决定消费者利益的关键所在,零售价格呈逐年上升的趋势。三是当事人的垄断行为不仅限制了市场竞争,而且直接或间接提高了相关产品价格,导致零售价格以及医院价格没有降到其应降到的竞争水平价格,损害了消费者的利益。

此外,对于横向垄断协议,《修正草案》并未对排除、限制竞争效果的举证责任做出规定,我们倾向于理解这表明立法和执法机关均推定法律中所明确列举的横向垄断协议具有排除、限制竞争的效果。

四、查漏补缺,明确“轴幅协议”下责任

《修正草案》明确了“经营者不得组织其他经营者达成垄断协议,或为其他经营者达成垄断协议提供实质性帮助”。该条被业内评价为主要用于规制“轴辐协议”,以填补目前反垄断立法上的漏洞。

解读如何理解“帮助”达成垄断协议

相较此前《2020年征求意见稿》所规定的,“禁止经营者组织、帮助其他经营者达成垄断协议”,《修正草案》提出对于经营者“实质性帮助”其他经营者达成垄断协议的情况下,该经营者需要承担责任。如何解读“实质性帮助”,仍需要未来通过执法和细化规则予以澄清。

根据域外的执法案例,在认定“轴辐协议”时,一般需要考虑,位于“轴”的经营者对于其与辐之前达成的纵向协议,是否“促成”各辐之间达成横向垄断协议的效果。比如,在某电子书案件中,某一线上销售平台主动与出版商协议沟通,达成代销协议并在代销协议中设置最惠国条款,促成了在高度集中的市场上主要出版商近乎一致且突然地涨价。

对于企业来说,需要特别关注是否存在可能产生协助其他经营者达成横行垄断协议效果的风险。比如,企业对其经销商发布关于价格、促销、数量等统一政策,进行统一沟通管理,搭建共通平台时,可能促成多名经销商在价格、数量等方面达成一致。

此外,《修正草案》也再次明确了组织、帮助达成垄断协议的法律责任,即如果经营者违反了该条规定,将同样适用对于达成垄断协议者的责任规定[8]

五、与时俱进,针对互联网领域特点,为反垄断执法提供法律依据

针对平台经济领域中的滥用市场支配地位行为,《修正草案》明确规定,经营者不得滥用数据和算法、技术、资本优势以及平台规则等排除、限制竞争[9]。具有市场支配地位的经营者利用数据和算法、技术以及平台规则等设置障碍,对其他经营者进行不合理性限制的,属于滥用市场支配地位的行为[10]

而对于利用数据和算法、技术以及平台规则实施滥用行为的具体表现形式,此前公布的《国务院反垄断委员会关于平台经济领域的反垄断指南》(“《平台反垄断指南》”)中对于上述行为进行了列举,如具体包括:

滥用市场支配地位行为 表现形式
拒绝交易

•           在平台规则、算法、技术、流量分配等方面设置不合理的限制和障碍,使交易相对人难以开展交易;

•           控制平台经济领域必需设施的经营者拒绝与交易相对人以合理条件进行交易。

限定交易

•           通过屏蔽店铺、搜索降权、流量限制、技术障碍、扣取保证金等惩罚性措施;

•           通过补贴、折扣、优惠、流量资源支持等激励性方式无正当理由对交易相对人进行限定交易。

搭售或者附加不合理交易条件

•           利用格式条款、弹窗、操作毕竟步骤等交易相对人无法选择、更改、拒绝的方式,将不同商品进行捆绑销售;

•           以搜索降权、流量限制、技术障碍等惩罚性措施,强制交易相对人接受其他商品;

•           强制收集非必要用户信息。

差别待遇

•           基于大数据和算法,根据交易相对人的支付能力、消费偏好、使用习惯等,实行差异性交易价格或者其他交易条件;

•           实行差异性标准、规则、算法。

 

对互联网企业的反垄断执法活动自2020年11月开始,在互联网执法层面效果显著,先后对多家互联网企业从事“二选一”等行为进行了处罚。可以预期,互联网领域的执法在未来仍将是重中之重,处罚的行为类型也将更为广泛。

六、完善制度,明晰对未达法定申报标准的经营者集中的执法权限,经营者集中引入“停表”制度

《修正草案》从法律层面,明确了经营者集中未达到国务院规定的申报标准,但有证据证明该经营者集中具有或者可能具有排除、限制竞争效果的,执法机构应当依法进行调查[11]。此前仅在《国务院关于经营者集中申报标准的规定》中对此有相同规定。《修正草案》将这一原则提高到了法律层面。

对于如何具体判定未达到申报标准的经营者集中可能带来排除、限制竞争效果,有待未来的配套法规和实践的进一步明确,值得企业持续关注。此前,《平台反垄断指南》和《关于原料药领域的反垄断指南(征求意见稿)》(“《原料药反垄断指南》”)也对此做出了一些规定,我们总结如下供企业参考:

 

行业性指南 相关规定
《平台反垄断指南》 在平台经济领域,在(1)参与集中的一方经营者为初创企业、新兴平台,(2)参与集中的经营者因采取免费或者低价模式导致营业额较低,(3)相关市场集中度较高、参与竞争者数量较少等情况下,对于未达到申报标准且具有前述情形的经营者集中,具有或者可能具有排除、限制竞争效果的,反垄断执法机构将对其依法进行调查处理[12]
《原料药反垄断指南》 部分原料药品种市场规模较小,市场经营者数量较少,在相关市场的市场份额和市场集中度较高时,对于未达到申报标准但具有或者可能具有排除、限制竞争效果的经营者集中,反垄断执法机构可以对其依法调查[13]

 

此外,《修正草案》引入“停表”制度,即规定了三种中止计算经营者集中审限的情形,包括:

  • 在经营者未按规定提交文件、资料导致审查工作无法进行;
  • 出现对经营者集中审查具有重大影响的新情况、新事实需要进行核实;
  • 经营者集中附加的限制性条件需要进一步评估,且经营者同意的[14]

“停表”制度无疑增加了经营者集中审查时限的弹性,避免僵化适用审限要求所带来的不必要的程序性操作(例如撤回再申报)。同时,通过明确了“停表”制度适用情形,也从一定程度上避免了审查时限过分延长导致行政程序缺乏确定性。

七、重点监管,加强对民生、金融、科技、媒体等领域经营者集中审查

《修正草案》明确提出反垄断执法机构应当加强民生、金融、科技、媒体等领域经营者集中的审查[15]

由于相关领域过于具体,是否适合在立法层面进行规定存在一定争议。但是,我们理解,《修正草案》至少向企业传递了讯息,即对于上述行业,经营者集中审查可能会更加全面、谨慎地评估该项交易是否可能对市场竞争产生影响。这与近来国家市场监管总局对互联网行业的并购加强审查的实践也是一致的。

一方面,对于涉及互联网企业的交易,市场监管总局审查可能会要求对该企业所在的所有相关市场均进行界定,即不仅考虑对该次交易所涉及的市场、也考虑对关联市场的影响。另一方面,从审查时间的角度,涉及科技、媒体等领域经营者集中案件的审查期限相对较长,从目前已公布的部分经营者集中简易案件来看,该等领域中的经营者集中简易案件的审查时间最长已为立案后50天[16],而对一般行业立案后平均的审查时间仅为约14天。

此外,对于上述重点关注行业,在经营者集中审查过程中,不排除反垄断执法机构将更多地听取行业主管部门的意见。比如,对于金融领域中的经营者集中审查,2021年1月21日,中国人民银行公布《非银行支付机构条例(征求意见稿)》,明确强化对支付领域反垄断监管措施,中国人民银行可以向国务院反垄断执法机构建议采取停止实施集中等措施[17]

八、加大处罚,大幅提高对违法实施经营者集中行为的处罚力度

《修正草案》对违法实施集中大幅提高了处罚力度:

处罚对象 现行《反垄断法》 《修正草案》

违法实施集中

 

50万元以下罚款 (1)具有排除、限制竞争效果的,处上一年度销售额百分之十以下的罚款
(2)不具有排除、限制竞争效果的,处五百万元以下的罚款

相比于《2020年征求意见稿》,本次《修正草稿》将“不具有排除、限制竞争效果的”违法实施集中行为的处罚金额上限降低为五百万元。我们理解,如果交易能够适用简易程序申报,通常被推定认为“不具有排除、限制竞争效果”,但是对于已经实施的集中,反垄断局可能不仅会回溯考察集中实施时的情况,也会考察交易所产生的实际效果。

对于《修正草案》生效后,在此之前违法实施集中的交易,不排除可能由于其经营者集中状态一直处于违法状态,而在新法实施后,追溯适用新法下的罚则。因此,对于目前已经发生的未依法申报实施集中的情况,建议企业考虑进行自查,适时进行补充申报,排除合规风险。

九、加强垄断行为处罚,增加个人责任

对于垄断行为,《修正草案》进一步完善了相关行为的处罚金额:

处罚对象 现行《反垄断法》 《修正草案》
达成并实施垄断协议 没收违法所得,并处上一年度销售额1%以上10%以下的罚款

Ÿ   没收违法所得,并处上一年度销售额1%以上10%以下的罚款

Ÿ   针对达成并实施垄断协议,且上一年度没有销售额的经营者,罚款上限确定为500万元以下

尚未实施所达成的垄断协议的 50万元以下的罚款 300万元以下的罚款
情节特别严重的情况 无规定 对于情节特别严重、影响特别恶劣、造成特别严重后果的违法行为,以及拒绝配合调查的行为,可以按照相关规定的罚款数额的二倍以上五倍以下处以罚款。

 

值得注意的是,对于违法所得难以准确计算的情况,《修正草案》规定,反垄断执法机构应当将违法所得作为确定具体罚款数额时的考虑因素[18]。这意味着,违法所得难以计算的,其罚款金额可能会相应提高。

《修正草案》另一重要变化是,对于违法行为,增加了个人可能承担的责任:

  • 达成垄断协议企业的法定代表人、主要负责人和直接责任人员,可处以100万元以下罚款[19]
  • 引入刑事责任:

此次《修正草案》延续《2020年征求意见稿》,增加了对于垄断行为本身追究刑事责任的规定:经营者违反本法,构成犯罪的,依法追究刑事责任[20]。目前,我国刑法尚未针对经营者的垄断行为规定相应的刑事责任,对于垄断行为的刑事责任仍有待《刑法》及相关修正案进一步明确。

此外,《修正草案》还规定受到行政处罚将载入信用记录,并对严重违法失信行为给予信用惩戒[21]

十、明确垄断行为的民事责任,增加公益诉讼制度

除行政层面加强执法外,反垄断民事诉讼也日益升温。众多引人注目的案件目前正在审理过程中。对于实施垄断行为的民事责任,《修正草案》明确,给他人造成损失的,依法承担停止损害、恢复原状、赔偿损失等民事责任[22]

此外,《修正草案》从法律层面提出了反垄断法下检察院的公益诉讼制度:经营者实施垄断行为,侵害社会公共利益的,人民检察院可以向人民法院提起民事公益诉讼[23]。截至2020年底,已有18个省级人大常委会通过决定或决议,授权检查机关在互联网侵害公益、个人信息保护等相关领域探索公益诉讼实践[24]。贵州检察机关办理的网络餐饮凭条不正当竞争公益诉讼案,也被最高院评为典型公益诉讼案例[25]。 可以预期,对于涉及民生等重要领域的垄断行为,如平台二选一、大数据杀熟等,未来可能会出现更多的检察院公益诉讼。

结语:

见微知著,洞悉《修正草案》体现出的变化,可以预见,反垄断法在修订后将成为更为锋利的武器,为我国强化反垄断执法提供坚实的法律基础;而与此同时,预期修订后的反垄断法也将通过安全港等制度给与企业经营更大的确定性和预期性,在执法过程中也将给与企业更充足的抗辩空间。

如您有任何关于反垄断法修正草案的问题,欢迎随时和我们讨论。

[1] 征求意见的截止日期为2021年11月21日。

[2] 参见《强化反垄断深入推进公平竞争政策实施- 访国家市场监督管理总局局长张工》,来源人民日报。

[3] 参见《修正草案》第19条。

[4] 2019年1月4日成文,2020年9月18日发布。

[5] 2020年10月23日修订。

[6] 此外,在《国务院反垄断委员会关于知识产权领域的反垄断指南》(“《知识产权指南》”,2019年1月4日成文,2020年9月18日发布)中对于涉及知识产权的协议也设置了安全港规则:“如果经营者符合下列条件之一,通常不将其达成的涉及知识产权的协议认定为《反垄断法》第十三条第一款第六项和第十四条第三项规定的垄断协议,但是有相反的证据证明该协议对市场竞争产生排除、限制影响的除外。

(一)具有竞争关系的经营者在相关市场的市场份额合计不超过20%;

(二)经营者与交易相对人在受到涉及知识产权的协议影响的任一相关市场上的市场份额均不超过30%;

(三)如果经营者在相关市场的份额难以获得,或者市场份额不能准确反映经营者的市场地位,但在相关市场上除协议各方控制的技术外,存在四个或者四个以上能够以合理成本得到的由其他经营者独立控制的具有替代关系的技术。”

[7] 参见国市监处〔2021〕29号行政处罚决定书。

[8] 参见《修正草案》第56条。

[9] 参见《修正草案》第10条。

[10] 参见《修正草案》第22条。

[11] 《修正草案》第26条。

[12] 参见《平台反垄断指南》第19条。

[13] 参见《原料药反垄断指南》第15条。

[14] 《修正草案》第32条。

[15] 《修正草案》第37条。

[16] 腾讯控股有限公司收购天津动漫堂艺术发展有限公司股权案,涉及的相关市场为中国动画制作市场;

中国漫画制作市场、中国网络漫画作品传播市场、中国网络视频作品传播市场。该案于2021年6月29日立案,8月25日获得批准。

[17] 参见:中国人民银行于2021年1月20日发布的《非银行支付机构条例(征求意见稿)》第57条:“非银行支付机构未遵循安全、高效、诚信和公平竞争原则,严重影响支付服务市场健康发展的,中国人民银行可以向国务院反垄断执法机构建议采取停止滥用市场支配地位行为、停止实施集中、按照支付业务类型拆分非银行支付机构等措施。”

[18] 参见《修正草案》第59条。

[19] 《修正草案》第56条。

[20] 《修正草案》第67条。

[21] 《修正草案》第64条

[22] 《修正草案》第60条。

[23] 《修正草案》第60条。

[24] 参见最高检察院加强公益诉讼,https://www.spp.gov.cn/spp/zdgz/202104/t20210408_515117.shtml

[25]参见法制生活报,http://szb.fzshb.cn/fzshb/20201223/html/page_06_content_000.htm

 

作者:刘新宇 郑银莹 郭欢 蒋睿馨 张文怡(公司业务部)

 

 

 

海关总署于2021年9月13日公布了《关于公布<中华人民共和国海关注册登记和备案企业信用管理办法>的令》(海关总署令第251号,以下简称“251号令”),将自2021年11月1日起实施。251号令实施后,2018年3月3日海关总署令第237号公布的《海关企业信用管理办法》(“237号令”)同时废止。

现就251号令的重点内容进行解读:

作者:袁敏 林喆 华东东 辛雷綮(金融证券部)

 

 

 

为进一步加强股东股权监管,完善银行保险机构公司治理,有效防范金融风险,2021年10月14日,中国银行保险监督管理委员会(以下简称“银保监会”)在2021年6月17日公布的《银行保险机构大股东行为监管办法(试行)》(征求意见稿)(以下简称“《征求意见稿》”)的基础上,正式发布实施了《银行保险机构大股东行为监管办法(试行)》(银保监发〔2021〕43号,以下简称“《监管办法》”)。继控股股东、控制类股东、战略类股东、财务II类股东、财务I类股东、主要股东等股东的监管分类后,银保监会在《监管办法》中将控股股东和部分需要重点监管的关键少数主要股东一并界定为“大股东”,提出更加严格的监管标准,用以增强监管效率和精准性,应对中小机构股权普遍较为分散,控股股东很少,大量对银行保险机构有重大影响的股东只能按照主要股东(5%)的标准实施监管而造成的监管不足的问题。

2021年10月21日,《亚洲法律杂志》(ALB)公布了“ALB China 区域市场排名:长三角地区”榜单,金杜律师事务所在“非长三角地区本地律所(长三角地区业务)” 类别中入选。此次是金杜继入选“ALB China 区域市场排名:华南地区 ”排名后,又一次入选“ALB China区域市场排名”。

作者:程世刚 孙慧丽 孙玲(争议解决部)

 

 

 

我国采矿权和探矿权的主体主要是矿山企业,矿山企业的组织形式主要表现为公司、合伙企业和个人独资企业。为规避我国法律对矿业权转让的特殊监管,实践中存在很多名为矿山企业投资权益(包括公司股权、合伙企业财产份额和个人独资企业财产所有权)转让实为矿业权转让的合同,因此引发了一系列的法律纠纷。对于此类交易安排,应如何认定当事人转让行为的性质,即转让的到底是矿山企业的投资权益还是矿业权?尤为重要的是,在未经矿产资源主管部门批准的情况下,相关合同的效力如何?对该些问题的梳理和总结,具有重要的实践意义。

作者:张逸瑞(知识产权部)

 

 

 

近些年来,随着非同质化代币即NFT的出现及接连不断的新闻,其愈发走入大众视野,而最先走进NFT市场的便是艺术品。

2021年3月11日,随着一声落槌响起,佳士得首次拍卖NFT艺术品便以6930万美元成交(约4.5亿人民币)。在此之后,巨额的NFT艺术品交易不断涌现,NFT(英文全称“Non-Fungible Token”,中文名称为“非同质化代币”),率先在艺术品领域“开花”,人们期待着NFT可以“结果”进而发挥出超越比特币等同质化代币的实质性作用。更有人提出NFT有望在未来成为最近热门的“元宇宙(Metaverse)”中资产数字化流转的发动机。