On 17 November 2010, the NDRC organized a “price monopoly” workshop in Chengdu. Government officials from some 15 provincial level price authorities attended this workshop.
During the workshop, the NDRC stated that:
- each provincial level price authority was required to set up specialized divisions, to govern price-related breaches of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML); and
- currently, only 8 (out of some 30) provincial level price authorities have set up specialized divisions to deal with price-related breaches of the AML.
When business operators in China think about “provincial level price authorities”, they would often think of two types of government entities: (a) the provincial-level development and reform commissions (provincial DRCs); and (b) the provincial-level price bureaux (provincial price bureaux).
Since the National Development and Reform Commission is the central government agency in charge of governing and enforcing any price-related breaches of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), most business operators have assumed that the NDRC would have delegated these powers to the provincial DRCs (in order for the latter to assist the former to enforce the AML at the provincial level). However, it is important to note that this is not the case in respect of all provinces – in some provinces, it is really the provincial price bureaux which has been given the power to enforce price-related breaches of the AML at the provincial level.
For instance, the price bureaux of the following provinces have been given the power to enforce price-related breaches of the AML: Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Hubei and Yunnan. On the other hand, in provinces such as Xinjiang, it is the provincial DRC who has been given the authority to enforce price-related breaches of the AML.
It is important to be aware of which provincial authorities are in charge of the governing of price-related breaches of the AML for two reasons:
- first, so that a business operator is able to approach the right authorities in relation to a complaint about an alleged price-related breach of the AML; and
- second, if a business operator is being investigated by a provincial-level price authority – it is important to know if that provincial-level price authority possesses adequate standing or right to investigate an alleged breach of the AML.
 The provincial price authorities which have set up specialized divisions to deal with price-related breaches of the AML are the provincial price authorities in Heilongjing, Liaoning, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Chongqing, Hubei, Yunnan and Xinjiang.