Adding Antitrust to NDRC’s Arsenal
Nathan Bush, Yue Bo, Feb 28, 2011
On December 29, 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission ("NDRC") released the Anti-Price Monopoly Regulation and the Regulation on the Anti-Price Monopoly Administrative Enforcement Procedure ("NDRC Procedural Regulation"). Finalizing these measures signifies a new phase in NDRC's enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law ("AML") with respect to price-related violations of the rules against "monopoly agreements," "abuse of dominance," and "administrative monopoly." The new measures, however, are less revolutionary than cautiously evolutionary.
In an era when Beijing's policymaking climate favors robust industrial policy and selective adaption of Western regulatory practices, NDRC has now integrated its new role as an antitrust enforcer with its longstanding roles as a price regulator and economic planner. NDRC's initial AML enforcement efforts dovetailed with its standing goals of curbing inflation and its established enforcement practices. Whether NDRC's future AML enforcement focuses on consumer welfare and economic efficiency or reinforces NDRC's broader agenda of industrial policy and socioeconomic stabilization remains to be seen.