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Japan, China join hands on busting cartels, clarifying antitrust policies

JIJI

Japanese and Chinese antitrust authorities are slated to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation, informed sources said.

Under the memorandum, to be inked Tuesday, the Fair Trade Commission and China’s National Development will exchange information on cartels involving both Japanese and Chinese companies and conduct on-site investigations simultaneously if needed, the sources said Friday.

They also plan to cooperate on increasing the transparency of their antimonopoly policies to make it easier for Japanese and Chinese firms to do business in each one.

The FTC exchanges information on cartel investigations with U.S. and European antitrust authorities.

Japan’s commission used such international networks when it filed a criminal complaint in 2012 over a price-fixing conspiracy involving major bearings firms and in a case in 2014 in which it ordered major shipping companies to pay ¥22.7 billion in fines for fixing fees for car carriers.

Japan introduced a leniency program in 2006 that exempts those who voluntarily report antitrust activities from penalties.

As China has a similar system, the FTC believes that information-sharing between the Japanese and Chinese authorities will be very meaningful.

The FTC will help Japanese companies understand China’s antimonopoly policy better so they can expand operations in China more smoothly, the sources said.