Date
18 August 2017
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The Big Picture: ANTI-TRUST FIGHT

China will continue to build up its strength and capabilities in tackling price monopolies, following last year’s moves to investigate cases related to liquid-crystal display panels, white wine, milk powder and others, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Hu Zucai {胡祖才}, vice chairman of the top economic planning agency, said the government will investigate anti-trust cases as early as possible and improve the related information work. In a statement posted on the NDRC website Monday, the official asserted that China will strengthen its research work on the anti-trust law and enhance cooperation with other countries. 

There is plenty of room for China and the United States to cooperate with each other on the anti-monopoly issue so that both nations can open their markets further to each other, Hu said. The comments came after officials from China and the US held a meeting in Beijing last week.

The 2nd ministerial-level talks were a success and will help promote bilateral trade between the world’s two largest economies, the NDRC said. The first round of talks took place in Washington D.C. in September 2012. 

While Beijing is making the right noises, observers say it still lacks the will to eliminate all the existing monopolies in the country, with authorities unwilling to give foreign firms a free hand. Governments at the provincial level also tend to support local firms as they seek to protect regional employment and enhance tax revenue.

China has sometimes used the anti-competition law to achieve a protectionism goal. Last August, six infant formula makers, five of them foreign, were fined for price-fixing and anti-competitive practices in China. The NDRC, however, said the country’s anti-trust investigations are not targeting foreign firms. It said the car and pharmaceutical industries are also being investigated.

CIRC to set investment ratios for insurance funds

Insurance funds must comply with investment ratios set for various asset classes under revised rules released Monday by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Journal reported. The ratios will published later and can be changed by the regulator. The rules cover asset classes such as fixed-income, equities and real estate, and are aimed at making the funds more effective. Insurance funds had about 10 percent of their investments in securities funds and stocks as of November, suggesting that there is room for expansion in the asset classes, the report said.

Armed forces told to choose domestic vehicles

China’s armed forces have been told to choose domestic brands when procuring military vehicles, Shanghai Daily reported Tuesday. Purchase of new military cars should be arranged within a centralized system and the vehicles should be domestic brands, a circular issued Monday by the four headquarters of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army — General Staff Headquarters, General Political Department, General Logistics Department and General Armament Department — was cited as saying. The circular, aimed at promoting frugality and cutting down on waste in military and armed police forces, was issued after the approval of the Central Military Commission.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]

JP/AC/RC

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