Antitrust Enforcement During COVID-19: China’s Response and the Long-Term Implications

By Wei Han & Yajie Gao1

 

COVID-19 is the first economic disruption to hit China since implementation of the Anti-Monopoly Law of the P.R.C. (“AML”) in 2008. In general, enforcement of the AML remains at normal levels during the pandemic. The Chinese competition authority has gained rich experience in responding to the emergency through a series of measures. These may bring long-term implications.

 

I. MAJOR MEASURES TAKEN TO IMPLEMENT THE AML DURING COVID-19

A. Improve Working Procedure and Increase Enforcement Efficiency

After a short extension of the 2020 Spring Festival holiday due to COVID-19, the Chinese authorities fully resumed operation since on February 2020. On February 6, the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) released its Notice of Adapting Reception and Other Work During the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 (the “Notice”).2 Under the Notice, anti-monopoly review of concentrations would take place online. Undertaking(s) concerned could send notifications and supplementary materials to the SAMR through email. Post is also acceptable is internet is not available. The SAMR could also reply to undertaking(s) concerned with acceptance notices, lists of supplementary materials, filing notices, review decisions and other related documents through email or fax. The aim is to minimize the side effects of COVID-19 for transactions, so as to maintain the legitimate rights and interests of undertaking(s) concerned. On February 15, …

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