China’s Anti-Monopoly Law Enters its Second Decade
The year 2019 marks the first complete year of enforcement for the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”)’s since its establishment as well as the start of the second decade of the Anti-Monopoly Law (“AML”). In this year, remarkable progress was made in Chinese antitrust law in terms of legislation, investigation and enforcement, merger control and antitrust litigation.Through institutional reforms, SAMR unified the interpretation of the AML by issuing the Interim Provisions on the Prohibition of Monopoly Agreements, the Interim Provisions on Prohibition of the Abuse of Market dominance and the Interim Provisions on Prohibition of Abuse of Administrative Power. China also have progressed greatly in terms of the antitrust investigation and enforcement, merger control and litigation. After preparation in 2019, SAMR promulgated the Draft Revision to the Anti-Monopoly Law (Draft for Public Comments) (“Draft Revision”) at the beginning of 2020. The Draft Revision clarified many controversial issues in practice, such as adjusting the regulation system of monopoly agreements, leaving room for future interpretation of regulations about “restricting the minimum resale price”; putting forward specific considerations for the determination of market dominance in the internet sector; significantly increasing the penalties for antitrust infringements. It is expected that the revision to the AML will provide some clarity for companies, and the enforcement of the AML will become more stringent in the future.