Controlling Chinese Antitrust Abuses Against Foreign Patent Owners Requires U.S. To Make Sound Decisions At Home

Key commercial players in both the European Union and the United States have raised a chorus of well-timed complaints about the systematic bias in China’s enforcement of its Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). In principle antitrust laws should be used to foster, not stifle competition. The AML, however, is a peculiar amalgam of sensible prohibitions against horizontal mergers and nebulous provisions such as Article 17 that makes it illegal to set prices in “selling commodities at unfairly high prices or buying commodities at unfairly low prices.” Such broad language has allowed Chinese officials to selectively enforce against foreign firms a law neutral on its face. Far from being a device to promote competition, the AML is used to harass foreign firms that provide much needed competition to China’s state-protected agencies.