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Kala Anandarajah, Tanya Tang, Dec 31, 2014
Competition laws across Asia have gone beyond infancy and nascent stages and have become laws to be reckoned with. The sheer numbers of Asian countries with competition laws, and the seeming diversity as regards enforcement patterns and application of principles, naturally leads one to question whether the implementation of the laws are truly motivated by competitive forces or whether some other hidden agendas drive the same.
China’s recent probes into Microsoft Corp. and foreign car companies such as Audi and Chrysler, for example, have prompted observers to question if China is using its competition laws to support domestic firms at the expense of foreign companies. According to a recent Reuters article, legal experts point out that the Chinese authorities appear to have wielded the law against more foreign multinationals than local companies; firms targeted include Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. and Danone SA which have been slapped with heavy fines, as well as U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc., which faces the prospect of a U.S. $1 billion fine.
The same article noted that this had prompted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to send a private letter to the U.S Secretaries of State and Treasury to highlight concerns that China’s enforcement of the anti-monopoly law was being used to pursue “China’s industrial policy goals” and promote Chinese producer welfare and…