Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr. for the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Hearing on “International Antitrust Enforcement: China and Beyond”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Today’s hearing promises to be not only informative, but timely given the various issues presented by international antitrust enforcement, particularly with respect to China’s enforcement of its Anti-Monopoly Law. 

In just the last two days, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was in China for the latest round of talks in the ongoing U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. 

It was through this very mechanism that concerns about China’s antitrust enforcement practices had been raised previously.

Given the increasingly interconnected economic relationships among nations – and in particular between the United States and China – it is crucial that we educate ourselves about foreign antitrust regimes and their impact on American businesses and our economy as a whole.

As we hear from our witnesses, I would like them to address several questions.

To begin with, what impact will China’s alleged discriminatory enforcement practices have on American jobs?

The potential for hurting American jobs governs how I view this matter as well as many other issues concerning the global economy and trade.

To the extent that Chinese antitrust enforcement actions unfairly advantage Chinese firms over American ones – and to the extent that such unfair competition results in American companies going out of business and American workers losing their jobs – I would be deeply concerned.

For instance, discriminatory enforcement may allow Chinese firms to collude with each other and with the Chinese government to sell products below cost and drive American competitors out of business, costing American jobs.

In addition, what are the reasons behind China’s alleged discriminatory enforcement of its Anti-Monopoly Law?

Of course, the Anti-Monopoly Law explicitly includes policy goals such as the protection of “industries controlled by the state-owned economy and related to the lifeblood of the national economy and to national security . . .” and “to facilitate technology advancement.”
Other factors shaping enforcement may include the fact that the Anti-Monopoly Law has only been in effect less than 8 years and has yet to fully develop.  In addition, the enforcement agencies may lack sufficient staffing, resources, and experience.

I would like know to what degree each of these factors shapes Chinese enforcement behavior.

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