News and Cases from China: February 2016

Published on 14 Mar 2016 | 6 minute read

A round-up of laws, regulations and cases in China.  

 

NDRC Seeks Comments on Draft Guidelines for Application of ‘Lenient Treatment Rules’ in Horizontal Monopoly Agreement Cases 

发改委就《横向垄断协议案件宽大制度适用指南》征求意见

On 2 February, the National Development and Reform Commission (‘NDRC’) issued Draft Guidelines for the Application of Lenient Treatment Rules in Horizontal Monopoly Agreement Cases (Draft for Comment), seeking comments by 22 February 2016.

The Draft provides that an operator may apply to the competent anti-monopoly law enforcement agency for lenient treatment before any action has been taken it under Article 39 of the Anti-monopoly Law. After submitting an application for lenient treatment, the operator must: stop the suspected violation immediately; cooperate fully and sincerely with the law enforcement agency during the investigations; properly store evidentiary materials and information and refrain from concealing, destroying or transferring such evidence or offering false materials or information; refrain from disclosing any information about the application without approval of the agency; and refrain from obstructing any other anti-monopoly law enforcement actions.

2月2日,国家发改委就《横向垄断协议案件宽大制度适用指南(征求意见稿)》(简称《征求意见稿》)公开征集意见,意见反馈截止日期为2016年2月22日。

《征求意见稿》明确,参与垄断协议的经营者可以在执法机构采取《反垄断法》第三十九条所规定的任何措施前,向国务院反垄断执法机构申请宽大。经营者提交宽大的申请或者初步报告后,还需要全面履行以下义务:及时停止涉嫌违法行为;迅速、持续、全面、真诚地配合执法机构的调查工作;妥善保存并提供证据材料和信息,不得隐匿、销毁、转移证据材料或者提供虚假材料、信息;未经执法机构同意不得对外披露向执法机构申请宽大的情况;不得有其他影响反垄断执法顺利进行的行为。

(Source: http://www.sdpc.gov.cn/gzdt/201602/t20160203_774297.html )

 

NDRC Seeks Comments on Draft Guidelines for Operator Commitment in Anti-Monopoly Cases

发改委就《反垄断案件经营者承诺指南》征求意见

On 2 February,the National Development and Reform Commission (‘NDRC’) issued the Guidelines for Operator Commitment in Anti-Monopoly Cases (Draft for Comment), seeking comments on the Draft by 22 February 2016.

Under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law, enforcement agencies may decide to suspend an investigation if the operator agrees to undertake certain specific measures to rectify the breach. The Draft contains guidelines in relation to the acceptance of operator commitments.  The main provisions of the Draft are set out below.

Where, after investigation, a law enforcement agency holds that an operator has engaged in monopolistic behaviour, it shall make a decision on punishment under the Anti-Monopoly Law, and no longer accept any commitment made by the operator.

A law enforcement agency shall not suspend the investigation on the basis of a commitment made by the operator if the case involves fixing or changing commodity prices, limiting production or sales quantity or segmenting a sales or material purchase market.

A decision made by a law enforcement agency to suspend or terminate an investigation shall not be interpreted as an affirmation that the operator's behaviour is not monopolistic. Despite the decision, the agency can investigate, and impose administrative punishments in relation to, similar behaviour.

2月2日,国家发改委就《反垄断案件经营者承诺指南(征求意见稿)》(简称《征求意见稿》)公开征集意见,意见反馈截止日期为2016年2月22日。

《征求意见稿》规定,执法机构对涉嫌垄断行为调查核实后,认为构成垄断行为的,应当依法作出处理决定,不再接受经营者提出的承诺。对于固定或者变更商品价格、限制商品生产或者销售数量、分割销售市场或者原材料采购市场的横向垄断协议案件,执法机构不应接受经营者提出的承诺,实施中止调查。此外,《征求意见稿》还提出,执法机构的中止调查及终止调查决定,不是对经营者的行为是否构成垄断行为作出认定。执法机构仍然可以依法对其他类似行为实施调查并作出行政处罚。

(Source: http://www.sdpc.gov.cn/gzdt/201602/t20160203_774296.html  )

  

New Provisions Introduce Restrictions on Online Publishing

两部门发布《网络出版服务管理规定》

On 4 February, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (‘SAPPRFT’) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Administrative Provisions on Online Publishing Services (‘Provisions’). The new Provisions will come into effect on 10 March 2016.

In order to engage in online publishing, a publisher must have the approval of the relevant publishing authorities and must have obtained an Internet Publishing Services Licence, (Article 7). Article 10 provides that foreign-owned companies, or companies that are partly foreign owned, cannot engage in online publishing except in collaboration with a local publisher and with the prior approval of SAPPRFT.Further, publishers of books, electronic publications or others engaged in online publishing services must act in accordance with Article 8, which provides as follows:

“To engage in internet publishing services, a book, newspaper, periodical, audiovisual or electronic publisher must:  

(1) have a defined domain name, smart device app or other publication platform for its internet publishing services;

(2) provide internet publishing services only within the scope of its licence; and

(3) have the technologies and equipment necessary for internet publishing services;  the relevant servers and storage devices must be located within the territory of the People's Republic of China.

In addition, the Provisions specify certain content that must not be included in online publications.

2月4日,广电总局、工信部下发《网络出版服务管理规定》(下称《规定》),自2016年3月10日施行。

《规定》指出,从事网络出版服务,必须取得《网络出版服务许可证》。中外合资经营、中外合作经营和外资经营的单位不得从事网络出版服务,若网络出版服务单位与境内中外合资经营、中外合作经营、外资经营企业或境外组织及个人进行网络出版服务业务的项目合作,应当事前报国家新闻出版广电总局审批。图书、电子等出版单位从事网络出版服务,应与《规定》第八条相符合,即:图书、音像、电子、报纸、期刊出版单位从事网络出版服务,应当具备以下条件:

(一)有确定的从事网络出版业务的网站域名、智能终端应用程序等出版平台;

(二)有确定的网络出版服务范围;

(三)有从事网络出版服务所需的必要的技术设备,相关服务器和存储设备必须存放在中华人民共和国境内。

此外,《规定》还明确了网络出版物不得含有的内容。

(Source: http://www.miit.gov.cn/n1146295/n1146557/n1146619/c4639081/content.html )

 

The State Council Issues Draft Amendments to Anti-Unfair Competition Law

国务院法制办公室公布《中华人民共和国反不正当竞争法(修订草案送审稿)》公开征求意见

On 25 February, the State Council issued its Anti-Unfair Competition Law (Revised Draft for Comment) Seeking Public Opinion. The deadline for submitting comments is 25 March 2016.

The Revised Draft for Comment specifies that a business operator shall not leverage its comparatively dominant position in order to conduct any unfair trading practice such as: obliging a contracting party to enter in a transaction with a third party without good reason; obliging a contracting party to purchase certain designated commodities without good reason; imposing conditions on a contracting party or other business operator without good reason; overcharging or making unreasonable requests or unreasonably requiring a contracting party to provide additional economic benefits.

2月25日,国务院法制办公室公布《中华人民共和国反不正当竞争法(修订草案送审稿)》公开征求意见。意见反馈截止日期为2016年3月25日。

送审稿明确,经营者不得利用相对优势地位,实施下列不公平交易行为:(一)没有正当理由,限定交易相对方的交易对象;(二)没有正当理由,限定交易相对方购买其指定的商品;(三)没有正当理由,限定交易相对方与其他经营者的交易条件;(四)滥收费用或者不合理地要求交易相对方提供其他经济利益;(五)附加其他不合理的交易条件。

(Source: http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn/article/cazjgg/201602/20160200480277.shtml )

 

NDRC Imposes Fines for Anti-Competitive Agreements relating to the production and sale of Allopurinol Tablets

国家发展改革委依法查处别嘌醇片垄断协议案

The National Development and Reform Commission ('NDRC') recently imposed a fine of RMB 3,995,400 (approx. US$615,000) on five companies for having reached and executed an anti-competitive agreement in relation to the sale of generic allopurinol tablets. The companies are Chongqing Qingyang Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Chongqing Datong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Jiangsu Shimao Tianjie Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Shanghai Xinyi United Medicinal Herbs Co., Ltd., and Shangqiu Huajie Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Allopurinol is a drug commonly used to treat kidney stones and gout caused by excessive uric acid: hyperuricemia. From 2014 to 2015, the pharmaceutical companies referred to entered into an agreement to raise the price of allopurinol tablets and divide the market between them, in essence excluding other competitors and severely restricting competition. As a result, the medication expenses of many patients were increased and the interest of consumers harmed.

根据举报,国家发展改革委近日对重庆青阳、重庆大同、江苏世贸天阶、上海信谊联合、商丘华杰等五家公司达成并实施别嘌醇片垄断协议案依法作出处罚,合计罚款399.54万元。

别嘌醇片是治疗因尿酸过高引起的高尿酸血症、痛风的常用药物。2014年至2015年,上述几家企业作为生产销售别嘌醇片的三方经营主体,先后四次召开会议,达成并实施统一上涨别嘌醇片价格、分割销售市场的垄断协议,严重排除、限制了别嘌醇片市场的竞争,增加了广大高尿酸血症和痛风患者的药费负担,损害了消费者利益。

(Source:http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2016-01/28/content_5036816.htm

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