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Bilateral relations > China

17.03.2016 - Commissioner Vestager meets Chinese counterparts in Beijing to discuss competition policy and economic reform

During her visit to Beijing, Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager had various meetings with her counterparts in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom), the Ministry of State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), and the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), to discuss cooperation on competition issues between the EU and China, as well as China's reform agenda. The meetings took place against the background of the release of China's 13th Five Year Plan last year, which will steer China's transition to a more sustainable economic model until 2020, including by defining the role of the market and restructuring the economy to tackle overcapacity. Competition policy plays a central role in this context. Following her meetings, Commissioner Vestager said: "The meetings confirmed our shared interest in strengthening our cooperation on competition matters. They provided me with a first-hand sense of the challenges and urgency of China's reform—in particular the ambition to let the market shape the economy, for domestic and foreign operators alike. I believe the European experience of building our open single market and our history of restructuring and liberalising a number of sectors contains useful ideas in this respect. In particular, I shared with my Chinese counterparts the Commissions experiences as enforcer of state aid control within the single market." In particular, Commissioner Vestager met with Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng to discuss merger review in China and the EU, also in the context of the recent cooperation framework signed in October 2015. This guidance has established best practices to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the EU and China on reviewing mergers, allowing the Commission and Mofcom to share information and discuss timetables at key stages of investigations, to increase their efficiency. Commissioner Vestager also met with Minister of the SAIC Zhang Mao to discuss ongoing cooperation and competition enforcement in the two jurisdictions. With the Chairman of the NDRC, Xu Shaoshi, Commissioner Vestager spoke about current antitrust issues in the two jurisdictions, the NDRC's initiatives to prohibit the abuse of administrative monopoly and plans to introduce the prior review of government measures. Commissioner Vestager also met with Xiao Yaqing, the newly appointed Chairman of SASAC, to discuss reform of state-owned enterprises in China also in the context of the guidelines published by the SASAC for the reform of state-owned enterprises in September 2015. The meeting with DRC Chairman Li Wei provided an opportunity to review the challenges of China's reform, which the EU follows with great interest given its implications not only for China, but for the world economy and bilateral relations with the EU. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Yizhou Ren – Tel.: +32 229 94889)

The 2001 EU-China Summit earmarked competition policy as one of the areas where the EU-China dialogue should be intensified.

As a result, on 6 May 2004 DG Competition signed Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue with the Ministry of Commerce (Mofcom).

The Dialogue is a permanent mechanism for consultation and transparency between China and the EU in the competition field as well as the formal framework for the EU's technical cooperation with China which is carried out through the EU-China Trade Project.

DG Competition moreover signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the area of Anti-Monopoly Law with the National Development and reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) on 20 September 2012.

The Memorandum of Understanding creates a dedicated framework to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the DG Competition and NDRC and SAIC. The Memorandum covers legislation, enforcement and technical cooperation regarding cartels, other restrictive agreements and the abuse of dominant market positions.

Key documents and speeches

Related links
European Commission - Trade - China
EU-China Trade Project (EUCTP)
European External Action Service – China