Merger Review in China and South East Asia: Does It Smell of Protectionism?

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K K Sharma, Oct 29, 2014

There was a considerable excitement when two of the fastest-growing economies and most populous countries—China and India—introduced competition law in their respective lands. The competition law in India was enacted in January 2003. However in India, the law, after enactment, remained practically ineffective till as late as May 20, 2009, the day when notification of the partial enforcement powers was declared by the Government. Till that time the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002(“Act”), notified by the Government, permitted the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) to do little beyond competition advocacy of competition law among different stakeholders across the country.

On the other hand, the time gap between the preparation of the first draft and the actual full enforcement of competition law in China was much smaller. In August 2008, China could actually take pride in having a fully functional competition law regime in place despite having started its journey a little later than India. This speed reflects small costs associated with the types of political system a country follows. In a democracy, everyone is free to raise a different voice, and any legislation can only go through after the voices of dissent have been fully heard and taken care of. Such compulsions do not necessarily overburden the decision-making process in political systems other than a d…

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