"On 2 January 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation of China ('SAMR') released a draft of the proposed amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Law of China ('Draft Amendment') to solicit public comments from different sectors of society. It indicates that after twelve years, at the beginning of the 2020s, the Anti-Monopoly Law of China ('AML') is envisioning an overhaul.
Enacted on 30 August 2007 and implemented on 1 August 2008, the enforcement of the AML in its current form has entered the twelfth year. These years have seen a series of changes, for example, in the domestic and foreign economic environment, the policy goals and the governance concepts of the Chinese government, the characteristics of business competition, and the institutional structure of the antitrust authorities. In the course of the AML enforcement, various problems continuously emerge and enforcement experience is thus accumulated, part of which has been reflected in the implementing rules of the AML. In contrast, some provisions in the AML can no longer adapt themselves to the current practices nor provide sufficient certainty for the latest enforcement cases, thus hindering the achievement of the AML’s legislative goals to ensure fair market competition and to safeguard consumers’ interests.
In countries with long-established market economy, antitrust law (known as “Antitrust Law” in the United States, “Competition Law” in Europe, and translated as “Anti-Monopoly Law” in China) is honored as the “economic constitution”, since it is the primary legal basis for governments to intervene in the operation of the economy at the micro-level. China's proposed amendment to the AML this time will be the first major overhaul of this "economic constitution" twelve years since it took effect. The significance of the amendment is self-explanatory against the pressure of the economic downturn, the escalation of international economic and trade frictions, and the most critical challenge of optimizing economic structure. As lawyers who have witnessed the entire evolvement process of China’s antitrust enforcement, we will make remarks about the Draft Amendment from a practical standpoint and in combination with real cases, with a view to making some modest contribution to the amendment of this law, which could influence the operation of the economy and millions of enterprises."