While the globalization of antitrust—something for which Chairman Kovacic deserves significant credit—has brought competitive markets to consumers worldwide, it has also given jurisdictions around the world significant influence over the conduct of increasingly global firms. In the merger context, each reviewing jurisdiction essentially has veto power over global conduct, which can be abused to distort competition, potentially in pursuit of protectionist goals.
Recent decisions by China’s MOFCOM highlight these dangers. Acting alone among jurisdictions, MOFCOM has imposed behavioral remedies that depart from international norms and sound economic principles, which, at least in some cases, seem designed to benefit Chinese customers and consumers at the expense of foreign consumers and competitors.
This chapter seeks to put MOFCOM’s divergence from other agencies in context by considering another high profile divergence—the U.S./EU divergence reflected in the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas and GE/Honeywell decisions. We consider how the divide between MOFCOM and the rest of the world today differs from that earlier split, and also consider what we can learn from that convergence as we pursue convergence with MOFCOM.
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