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Brussels, 20 September 2012
Competition: Commission signs EU cooperation agreement with China
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in her capacity as Commission Vice-President, Zhang Ping, Chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and Fu Shuangjan, Vice Minister of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, have signed today in Brussels a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation between the European Commission's competition department and China's antitrust authorities.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice President in charge of competition policy said: “The Memorandum of Understanding is an important step and a sign of our commitment to further deepen our already excellent relations with the Chinese Anti Monopoly Enforcement Authorities. It will give new impetus to our cooperation with China in the enforcement of our respective competition laws".
The Memorandum of Understanding creates a dedicated framework to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the Commission and two of China's Anti Monopoly Enforcement Authorities, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
The Memorandum covers legislation, enforcement and technical cooperation regarding cartels, other restrictive agreements and the abuse of dominant market positions.
The conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding sends a positive signal for an intensified cooperation on competition matters between the EU and China, the second most important trading partner of the EU. Under the new framework, the parties may engage in discussions on competition legislation and share non-confidential information on competition investigations.
The signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding are the Competition Directorate-General of the European Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
For the purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding the term “Anti-Monopoly” refers to all matters covered by the Anti Monopoly Law of China, excluding matters relating to concentrations.
Enforcement of the Anti Monopoly Law in China is shared by three agencies. NDRC is responsible for enforcing the rules against price-related infringements and SAIC is responsible for enforcing the rules against non-price related infringements. The third agency, the Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom) is responsible for merger review.
DG Competition already concluded a cooperation agreement with Mofcom in 2004. It will continue to cooperate with the Mofcom on the basis of the 2004 agreement.
The European Commission enforces competition rules for the European Union as a whole notably for what concerns the review of mergers and acquisitions involving companies with a turnover above certain thresholds (defined in Article 1 of the Merger Regulation in force since 1990) and the fight against cartels and abuses of dominant positions (respectively Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union).
The Commission has engaged actively in cooperation with competition authorities of many countries outside the EU. Cooperation with some of them is based on bilateral agreements dedicated entirely to competition (so-called "dedicated agreements"). In other cases, competition provisions are included as part of wider general agreements such as free Trade Agreements, Partnership and Cooperation Agreements, Association Agreements, etc.
For an overview of co-operations agreements with third countries go to:
Antoine Colombani (+32 2 297 45 13)
Marisa Gonzalez Iglesias (+32 2 295 19 25)