News / Asia

European Firms Voice Concern over China Antitrust Probes

Chinese regulators have launched a series of anti-monopoly investigations of foreign automakers. In this photo taken Sunday, April 20, 2014, a child touches the latest model from Mercedes at an auto show in Beijing.
Chinese regulators have launched a series of anti-monopoly investigations of foreign automakers. In this photo taken Sunday, April 20, 2014, a child touches the latest model from Mercedes at an auto show in Beijing.
Reuters

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China on Wednesday expressed concern over a recent series of antitrust investigations, saying China was using strong-arm tactics and appeared to be unfairly targeting foreign firms.

An array of industries have been coming under the spotlight as China intensifies efforts to bring companies into compliance with an anti-monopoly law enacted in 2008.

The auto sector has been under particular scrutiny, and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China's state planner, has been investigating it amid accusations by state media that global car makers are overcharging consumers.

European car brands including Volkswagen AG's  Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are scrambling to lower prices for new cars and spare parts in an effort to appease Chinese regulators who have accused some of them of anti-competitive behavior.

The European Chamber said that while effective enforcement of the anti-monopoly law would help develop a “healthy market economy” in China, it was concerned about the way investigations were being carried out.

“Inspections must not prejudge the outcome of the investigation and full rights of defense must be afforded to the companies in question. Disconcertingly, the European Chamber is not convinced that this has systematically been the case in China's recent investigations,” it said in a statement.

“The European Chamber has received numerous alarming anecdotal accounts from a number of sectors that administrative intimidation tactics are being used to impel companies to accept punishments and remedies without full hearings,” it said.

“Practices such as informing companies not to challenge the investigations, bring lawyers to hearings or involve their respective governments or chambers of commerce are contrary to best practices,” it said.

European business are also increasingly wondering whether foreign companies are being disproportionately targeted, said the chamber, which has more than 1,800 member companies in China.

“In some of the industries under investigation, domestic companies have not been targeted for similar violations. Furthermore, in some cases that involve joint ventures, it has only been the foreign partner that has been named as being a party to the investigations,” it said.

The NDRC did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.

Chinese authorities say the law is applied to both domestic and foreign firms, with the aim of protecting consumers. The NDRC has said it has targeted domestic telecoms companies, including China Unicom and China Telecom Corp, and domestic financial institutions for anti-trust practices.

U.S. companies have also been caught up in the investigations, including software giant Microsoft Corp , and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc which faces the prospect of a $1 billion fine.

Such investigations have rekindled concerns that the Chinese government may be using the anti-monopoly law to support domestic firms at the expense of foreign companies.  

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid