Huizhen Chen

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China's relatively new merger review system continues trending toward those of the United States and the European Union. However, its merger review will never entirely converge with the Western model from either a competition policy or review methodology perspective. Such divergence from the West, this article claims, is rooted in the decision-making mechanism of China's merger reviews. Traditionally, China's decision-making mechanism has been viewed as a singular review-agency domination like that of the West. In fact, however, China's merger reviews have issued remedies reflecting policies generated by major stakeholders as well as the review agency. These co-decision-makers have balancing relationships that forge an agency-stakeholder, rather than sole agency domination. Today, China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), established in 2018, follows a path set by the earlier China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). This article provides valuable insight into how the new active type of agency-stakeholder domination in China's merger reviews balances both economic and non-economic (political) policies to protect markets and consumers, as well as to be ready to react to the rise of protectionism globally.

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