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Academic Articles Awards > Asian Antitrust

The independence of Chinese competition agencies and the impact on competition enforcement in China

Wendy Ng, Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, 0, 1–22, 2015

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Readers’ vote will close on February 15, 2016. Readers’ vote will allow you to nominate 1 article for each of the Awards, i.e., 10 Academic articles, 10 Business articles, and the best Soft Laws. The readers’ short-list of Academic and Business Articles will be communicated to the Board together with the 20 articles nominated by the Steering Committees. The Board will decide on the award-winning articles. Results will be announced at the Awards ceremony to take place in Washington DC on the eve of the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting on April 5, 2016.

Administrative enforcement of China’s Anti-Monopoly Law is shared among three ministries, and a pan-ministry commission sits above these ministries to coordinate competition policy. This two-tiered tripartite enforcement structure has been criticized as inefficient, costly, and ineffective. In particular, commentators are concerned that the agencies’ lack of independence will lead to the consideration of non-competition matters in competition enforcement. However, there has been minimal research done on how these institutional arrangements limit the independence of the Chinese competition agencies and whether and how this has actually impacted the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law.
This article addresses this gap by investigating whether a lack of independence has affected competition enforcement in China. By looking at the concept of agency independence, this article argues that, in addition to the constraints on independence that arise from the competition agencies’ positions as ministries within the executive branch, their independence is also limited by the conventions, coordination mechanisms, and relationships that exist within China’s socialist system. Applying this broader, multidimensional concept of independence to understand the enforcement experience of the Anti-Monopoly Law, the article finds that the limitations placed on the independence of the competition agencies have shaped enforcement processes and outcomes.

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