On December 17, 2021, CCPIT’s seminar on “EU Antitrust Compliance” (the 7th edition of EU) was successfully held online. The conference was hosted by CCPIT Legal Affairs Department and organized by Yingke Law Firm, which is the permanent legal advisor of CCPIT in the EU. The theme of the conference is “EU Antitrust Compliance”. Dr. Shen Pei Lan, Director of the Legal Department of CCPIT, delivered a speech at the conference and invited Dr. Denisz Dobos, a lawyer from Nagy és Trócsányi law firm in Hungary, Dr. Andrea Pomana, a partner from ADVANT Beiten law firm in Germany, and Yang Lin, a global partner from Yingke Law Firm, to deliver keynote speeches.
In her speech, Director Shen Peilan mentioned that China is known as one of the three major antitrust jurisdictions along with the EU and the US. The behaviors regulated by EU antitrust laws, such as prior declarations related to M&A transactions, horizontal and vertical monopoly agreements, abuse of market power and state aid, are legal issues that Chinese enterprises will often be involved in when making investments and mergers and acquisitions in Europe. The anti-monopoly authorities of the EU and EU member states may intervene in the investment and M&A activities of Chinese enterprises in EU jurisdictions, and the related legal risks should be paid great attention by Chinese enterprises investing in Europe.
Dr. Denisz Dobos, a lawyer at Nagy és Trócsányi Law Firm in Hungary, gave a lecture on “Introduction to EU Antitrust Regulation and Analysis of Typical Cases”. The content covered two main aspects, an overview of EU antitrust law and an introduction to the case of Google Search. Dr. Denisz Dobos introduces effective competition, Articles 101 and 102 of the EU antitrust rules, anti-competitive agreements under Article 101, abuse of dominance under Article 102, the investigative powers of the Commission and GVH, and the provisions on fines in the introduction to EU antitrust law. Dr. Denisz Dobos presented the case on Google’s comparison shopping service, the assessment of dominance, Google’s abuse of dominance, the legal consequences of the Commission’s decision, and the CJEU’s ruling.
Dr. Andrea Pomana, Partner of ADVANT Beiten, Germany, gave a lecture on “EU Antitrust Compliance – Permissible and Prohibited Norms”. Dr. Andrea Pomana gave a detailed and in-depth introduction to the EU antitrust regime from the perspectives of antitrust regulation of business mergers, market dominance, EU antitrust review process, and the EU Digital Market Act. Dr. Andrea Pomana gave a detailed and in-depth introduction to the EU antitrust regime from the perspectives of the EU Digital Market Act, and made many targeted suggestions for enterprises to build the EU antitrust compliance system. She mentioned that the principles that need special attention regarding merger control are: the principle of waiting for procedures, the principle of correctness analysis, and the principle of information integrity. She suggested that due diligence must be conducted before the merger to ensure that documents are signed in compliance with merger control procedures and to ensure the value of the target; what must not be done are: transferring assets, coordinating competitive behavior, exchanging sensitive competitive information, and affecting normal business processes.
Yang Lin, a global partner of Yingke Law Firm, shared the topic of “How Chinese companies can better respond to EU antitrust investigations”. She mentioned that the EU antitrust review system has undergone a series of reforms in recent years and the review attitude has become increasingly strict. For Chinese enterprises, it is necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the EU antitrust system. From the perspective of Chinese enterprises, Ms. Yang Lin focused on the reasons why Chinese enterprises are prone to antitrust investigations when implementing mergers and acquisitions in the EU, and discussed effective measures for Chinese enterprises to cope with EU antitrust reviews.
For the effective measures for Chinese enterprises to cope with the EU antitrust review, Ms. Yang Lin made four suggestions: first, to rely on professional institutions to do a good job in legal feasibility analysis before the M&A, such as legal research, due diligence, etc.; second, to fully express their opinions in the consultation and other procedures, such as effective communication in the consultation session before the filing, the presentation of opinions in the special meeting, timely feedback on the objection letter, application for hearing, etc. Third, flexible modification of the M&A program according to the relief measures; fourth, using diversified M&A forms to reduce the attention of regulators. She concluded that Chinese companies implementing M&A in the EU face more severe antitrust examination, but by taking various preventive and remedial measures in the pre-, mid- and post-merger stages, Chinese companies can effectively respond to EU antitrust examination and successfully implement M&A projects.
The seminar was informative and professional, attracting many audiences to watch online. As the permanent legal advisor of CCPIT in EU, Yingke Law Firm will continue to cooperate with CCPIT to bring high-level conferences and lectures and provide professional and efficient legal services to help Chinese enterprises to cooperate across borders.