Chapter 24: China’s Anti-Monopoly Law for three years: achievements and challenges
In parallel with China’s substantial economic reforms, its legal system has developed at a rapid pace in the recent past, particularly with regard to the legal framework for promoting the market economy. In the fields of civil, business, and economic law, the Chinese government has released ground-laying laws and regulations to establish freedom of contract, the protection of rights and interests, and free competition – all of which are core principles of a market economy. To this end, laws such as the Company Law, the Contract Law, the Property Rights Law, and, in 2007, the Anti-Monopoly Law have been enacted. But, unlike the Contract Law or the Property Rights Law, the AML does not rely on the principles of ‘individual autonomy’ or ‘freedom of contract’ present in general business and commercial law. Rather, the AML contains the right of the government to intervene in the economy for the purposes of opposing monopolies, protecting competition, and safeguarding the order of the market economy. Antitrust law is the legal framework typical of any country with a market economy. It stands for the idea that the marketplace is the best decision maker for allocating resources on the supply and demand side. Hence, the promulgation and implementation of the AML is a milestone in the process of China’s economic reform. Nonetheless, as China’s current economic system is still in a transitional phase, it is unavoidable that, in these early stages of enforcement, the AML encounters considerable challenges.
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