Mofcom to roll out new merger control measures as a priority for 2017

30 March 2017. By MLex Staff.

As a top priority for 2017, China's Ministry of Commerce is seeking to amend its merger notification and review measures so as to roll out a consolidated regulation to improve the country's merger control regime, a senior official at the country's top merger regulator said.

"We will publicize the consolidated draft in the near future and seek public comments," Xu Lefu, a director at Mofcom's Antimonopoly Bureau, said at a conference in Washington, DC, today.*

Xu is the director for the third case review division at Mofcom's Antimonopoly Bureau.

Mofcom is currently working to revise the 2009 merger notification and review measures.

The new regulation will provide clearer definition on rights of control and clarify the calculation for turnover. In addition, it will elaborate on other issues, such as review criteria and consideration factors, in order to provide more guidance on merger review, he said.

Furthermore, the new rules will empower Mofcom to investigate smaller transactions that fall below the turnover threshold.

Xu also said the agency will continue to crack down on companies that fail to notify it of their transactions.

In January, Mofcom fined Japanese optics giant Canon 300,000 yuan ($43,000) for failing to notify the agency of its acquisition of a Toshiba medical unit.

He added that Mofcom wants merging parties to adopt a proactive approach, such as submitting remedy proposals at an early stage. Such work would help expedite the merger review process and secure clearance, he said.

For instance, he said, in the 2016 deal between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, Mofcom announced the fix-it-first conditional clearance very quickly.

*American Bar Association Antitrust Law 2017 Spring Meeting. Washington, DC, March 29-31, 2017.