Chapter 21: China’s anti-monopoly enforcement agency should say no to the BHP–Rio Tinto merger
On 1 October 2008, Australia’s competition regulatory agency – the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) – approved the US$120 billion merger acquisition of Rio Tinto by BHP Billiton. In its approval, the ACCC noted that ‘the commission believes that this merger will not have any negative effects on the iron ore or other markets’. On 3 October, at an anti-monopoly discussion forum on anti-monopoly law in China and Hong Kong held by Melbourne University Law School, I presented my view on the ACCC’s decision. My comments drew international attention, and after the forum I was interviewed by Australian ABC News and several overseas Chinese newspapers such as Xingdao Ribao. English-language media such as Reuters also published my speech, although many of these reports were not 100 per cent accurate. My view is that in terms of protecting the global iron ore market, the BHP–Rio Tinto merger poses a serious threat competition wise. Given that the merger plan had already been submitted to China’s anti-monopoly enforcement agency for approval, China should reject the application, even if the Australian government has given its green light on the merger. In the BHP–Rio Tinto merger plan, BHP is the acquiring company. BHP Co. was founded in 1885, with its headquarters in Melbourne, and its stock listed across Australia, England, the United States, and many other countries’ stock markets. It is currently the largest mining company in the world, and the third largest iron ore supplier worldwide.
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