EU Hails Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law

The European Commission on June 20 hailed a long-awaited draft anti-monopoly law by China, saying it would benefit Chinese and foreign companies alike. "This is an important step towards an effective competition regime," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, after meeting Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Ma Xiuhong, who is in charge of competition.

The law is largely aimed at preventing multi-national corporations from gaining monopoly status through foreign investment and mergers and acquisitions, a key official said.

Earlier press reports cited the need for the law to rein in products like Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system and Tetra Pac's packaging materials, both of which held 95% shares in the Chinese market last year.

The drafting of the law has been fraught with difficulties, including how to handle the existence of state monopolies in areas such as energy, land rights, insurance, telecommunications and tobacco.

The EU and China have held formal talks on competition policy since 2004, designed to "establish a permanent forum for consultation and transparency between China and the EU," according to the EU commission.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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