Susan Ning, Ding Liang
On July 27, 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) signed Anti-trust Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with their US counterparts, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ).
The MOU provides for high-level consultations among all five agencies as well as separate communications between individual agencies. The MOU also lists several specific areas for cooperation, including:
- keeping each other informed of significant competition policy and enforcement developments in their respective jurisdictions;
- enhancing each agency’s capabilities with appropriate activities related to competition policy and law such as training programs, workshops, study missions and internships;
- exchanging experiences on competition law enforcement, when appropriate;
- seeking information or advice from one another regarding matters of competition law enforcement and policy;
- providing comments on proposed changes to competition laws, regulations, rules and guidelines;
- exchanging views with respect to multilateral competition law and policy; and
- exchanging experiences in raising companies’, other government agencies’ and the public’s awareness of competition policy and law.
In addition, the MOU includes a confidentiality provision, which requires the recipient to maintain the confidentiality of any such information communicated to it in confidence.
This is the third MOU sign between Chinese anti-monopoly law enforcement agencies and their counterparts in other jurisdictions. The SAIC and NDRC signed two MOUs on competition law with the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in November 2010 and January 2011.
The Sino-US Antitrust MOU is aimed to establish a long-term cooperation framework between the PRC antimonopoly enforcement agencies and the U.S. antitrust agencies. This mechanism could contribute to improving and strengthening the relationship among all five agencies, it could also lead to joint antitrust enforcement in the future.