Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for June 13th, 2011

A New Guest Blogger, a New Jurisdiction and a New Type of Unlawful Information Exchange?

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[Note by Nicolas and Alfonso: Chillin’Competition is going global. From now on, we will have guest bloggers of reference in major jurisdictions or regions other than the EU and the US. They will report regularly on what’s hot in their jurisdictions. Their posts will appear under 2 new categories: China Watch and Latin America Watch (new country/region sections will be created in the future). There’s so much interesting stuff going on out there that it would be a shame to miss it.  

A good friend, long-time reader of this blog and bright lawyer, Adrian Emch (Counsel at Hogan Lovell’s in Beijing) will be our correspondent for China (of course all the views expressed by Adrian here are strictly personal and not necessarily coincidental with those of his firm or clients). Now that you’ve been introduced, we leave you with him].

Welcome to the wondrous world of Chinese competition law! I am very honoured to join this blog and help it ‘go global’–to chill competition on a worldwide basis. As an avid reader of the blog from the beginning, I personally share many of Nicolas’ and Alfonso’s views, including the view that there is room for fresh ideas and even fun within the competition law world. So I am very glad to contribute to the debate on worldwide convergence (and divergence!), best (and worst) practices, etc. with blog posts aimed at enhancing cross-fertilization among Eurasian competition law cultures!

For this inaugural post, I have chosen at topic that falls within the heart of Nicolas’ and Alfonso’s obsessions expertise, namely exchanges of price-related data between competitors.  So it is not only an ideal topic to blend in, but also a very timely one. Today marks the 10th anniversary of the one-off information exchange meeting between the five Dutch telecoms operators held by the European Court of Justice to have engaged in cartel-like (?) conduct in the infamous T-Mobile judgment. As insiders know, 13 June is considered the date of birth of information exchanges as a new and basically independent antitrust discipline…

More importantly, how to deal with information exchanges is a question that many antitrust regulators are still grappling with in many jurisdictions beyond the EU. With this background, on 6 May 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) –one of China’s three-plus competition authorities, with jurisdiction over price-fixing (among other things)– slapped a record antitrust-related fine (over €200,000) on Unilever. At first sight, the NDRC decision may seem to smack of old-fashioned industrial politics. But, at the same time, some might view it as cutting-edge antitrust enforcement.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Nicolas Petit

13 June 2011 at 3:58 pm

Posted in China Watch