China's recent wave of antitrust probes does not specifically target foreign multinational enterprises operating, a government spokesman said on Saturday, Aug 9.
The recent antimonopoly investigations on some foreign companies are to promote fair competition and protect consumers' right, Shen Danyang, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, said in a statement posted on the ministry's website on Saturday noon.
"Probes on monopolistic practices are universal practices," he said. "Companies in China, domestic or foreign, must bear legal responsibilities if they violate Chinese laws."
The National Development and Reform Commission, one of the three major antitrust regulators in China, said earlier this week that 12 Japanese auto companies have been investigated for suspected price manipulation of automobile parts. NDRC bureaus in Shanghai and Hubei province are also completing probes into US carmaker Chrysler and German manufacturer Audi.
NDRC officers raided Mercedes-Benz's Shanghai office on Monday, Aug 4, and its distributors in five Chinese cities last week.
A team from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, another antitrust regulator, also visited consultancy firm Accenture's office in Dalian, Liaoning province. Accenture provides financial services for Microsoft China on Wednesday; the office visit is an escalation of the anti-monopoly probe on the US software giant.
No punishment has been announced so far for any of these companies.
Shen said since the adoption of China's Anti-Monopoly Law six years ago, both domestic and foreign companies have been put under investigations. "Companies are equal in the implementation of the law. The law does not specially targets foreign investors."
He said foreign-invested companies and multinationals have been an important component in China's economy and play a positive role in China's economic and social development. He said China welcomes multinational companies and is devoted to promoting a fair market for all market players.
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