US and China sign pact on acquisition deals
China and the United States took a step yesterday towards co-operating on the oversight of cross-border merger and acquisition deals.
Both countries signed a memorandum of understanding to increase communication on competition laws and enforcement.
The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission signed the memorandum with three mainland antitrust agencies - the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
Under the agreement, signed in Beijing, the agencies will promptly update each other about antitrust issues, according to the US Department of Justice.
In addition, the agencies will offer comments on proposed laws, regulations and guidelines to strengthen bilateral anti-monopoly law enforcement efforts.
US Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney said the US relationship with Chinese authorities was strengthening steadily. She said the memorandum 'is a reflection of that relationship'.
'By establishing a framework for enhanced co-operation among our agencies, the MOU also allows us to move to the next chapter in our collaboration on competition law and policy matters,' she said.
China enacted its first anti-monopoly law in August 2008.
Despite the mainland's efforts to build a complete and transparent legal framework, foreign companies and policymakers find difficulties in understanding the anti-monopoly law and the internal workings of the enforcement agencies.
In 2009, Beijing blocked US soft drink giant Coca-Cola's acquisition of China Huiyuan Juice Group, citing monopoly concerns.
The present focus is on Yum! Brands' proposed HK$4.4 billion buyout of Little Sheep Group, a mainland hotpot chain operator.
Mainland authorities have yet to rule on the transaction, through which the US fast food company hopes to expand on the mainland.
merger and acquisition applications were received by the Ministry of Commerce between 2008 and June last year