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Anti-monopoly Law Not to Affect Foreign Investment

An official with China's top legislature said the government will maintain its policy of encouraging foreign investment unchanged after the passing of the country's first anti-monopoly law.

The official with the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress said the necessary security checks on foreign investment in domestic enterprises would pose no obstacles to the utilization of foreign capital.

The legislature passed the anti-monopoly law on August 30 and it will come into effect on August 1, 2008.

The law requires checks on mergers of foreign and Chinese enterprises to ascertain whether they affect national security.

"China has already established basic checks on foreign investment through regulations," the official told Xinhua.

A regulation issued by the State Council authorized government departments to initiate checks if the foreign firms "jeopardize national security or public interests" or "employ Chinese developed technology".

Another rule jointly published by six ministries and departments requires foreign companies to submit to checks if they take control of a joint venture in one of China's key industries.

"Checks on mergers of foreign and domestic firms are practiced by many countries," the official said, adding the law was following international practice.

"The anti-monopoly law will intensify regulation of the market and help to provide a better market environment for both domestic and foreign investors," he said.

The official said the law would prevent SOEs in monopolistic industries such as petroleum, telecommunications, mail services and tobacco from abusing their market dominance to lower services and disregarding the public interests.

China joins more than 80 countries in adopting an anti-monopoly law. Drafting of the law began in 1994.

Experts said China's socialist market economy had matured in the last decade, and the current market circumstances made the introduction of an anti-monopoly law imperative.

(Xinhua News Agency October 5,2007)

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