China: 中国反垄断前沿与趋势的实务观察

Last Updated: 2 March 2017
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中国反垄断前沿与趋势的实务观察

2016-10-27 威科先行法律信息库 作者:邓志松 戴健民

【编者按】

自2008年8月1日生效以来,中国《反垄断法》已经实施逾八年。经过这些年的发展,中国反垄断法律体系日趋完善,反垄断执法也已进入"新常态"。然而,与美欧反垄断法上百年的历史相比,中国反垄断法只能算是刚刚起步,诸多问题还有待进一步研究和解决。也正因如此,近年来中国反垄断在立法、执法、司法等各方面都不断涌现出新的发展和变化。

基于此,作为在一线从事反垄断实务的律师,大成律师事务所反垄断团队邓志松、戴健民律师试图对中国反垄断实践的本土经验和国际视野进行一些总结和分析,供关注中国反垄断的业内人士参考。

(注:总结采取问答方式进行,有关问题简称为"Q",相应回答则冠之以"A"。)

内容导读

1. 中国反垄断目前处于什么发展阶段? 

2. 中国反垄断立法的趋势如何?  

3. 2016年7月开始实施的公平竞争审查制度的目标和意义是什么?

4. 行业监管与反垄断执法有何关系?

5. 近期反垄断调查的热点行业有哪些?

6. 除了转售价格维持行为,还有哪些类型的纵向垄断协议行为?

7. MFN条款是否也可能构成纵向垄断协议?

8. 目前涉及专利的滥用市场支配地位案件是否均涉及标准必要专利?

9. 最近热门的滴滴收购优步中国案是否需要经营者集中反垄断申报?

10. 并购交易中的不竞争条款是否具有反垄断风险?

11. 2016年7月商务部最近附条件批准的百威英博收购南非米勒案对反垄断申报策略有何启示?

12. 企业建立反垄断合规制度是否有助于减轻反垄断处罚?

13. 中国的反垄断民事诉讼有哪些发展趋势?

14. 中国目前是否有针对反垄断执法机构的行政处罚决定提起的行政诉讼?

1. Q:中国反垄断目前处于什么发展阶段?

A:中国《反垄断法》是2007年8月30日颁布的,11个月后正式生效。自颁布起算,我们可以将中国反垄断的发展大致分为三个阶段。

第一个阶段是2007年至2012年。这个阶段主要以反垄断配套立法为主,一批反垄断行政法规、指南、部门规章、司法解释先后出台,使《反垄断法》更具可操作性和可预见性。在这个阶段,反垄断执法较少,除了商务部审查了较多的经营者集中案件外,国家发改委和工商总局仅查处了少量影响力较小的垄断协议和滥用市场支配地位案件;法院方面虽然受理了不少反垄断民事诉讼,但同样影响力较小。

第二个阶段是2013年至2014年。这个阶段反垄断配套立法仍在进行,特别是商务部出台了简易审查程序,提高了经营者集中的审查效率。但是,这个阶段的显著标志是反垄断执法力度大大加强,特别是国家发改委查处了LCD、茅台/五粮液、奶粉、保险、汽车及零部件等等一系列垄断协议案件,动辄上亿元的罚款不断刷新着记录;工商总局也对利乐、微软、百度等行业巨头进行了调查,引起社会广泛关注。这些执法行动使"反垄断"三个字深入人心,反垄断也成为企业合规的重中之重。同期,反垄断民事诉讼也是大案频出,如最高院终审的"3Q大战"、上海高院终审的锐邦诉强生案、广东高院终审的华为诉IDC案等,使反垄断成为企业维护自身权利、实施商业策略的重要武器。

第三个阶段是2015年至今。这个阶段反垄断步入常态化、精细化。反垄断配套立法走向深入,包括《反垄断法》修订、六部反垄断指南制定在内的立法活动纷纷展开,反垄断法律体系将得到进一步完善。另外,为了规制行政垄断,公平竞争审查制度也逐步建立起来。反垄断执法和司法方面,由于执法和司法机构的经验越来越丰富,也由于反垄断文化在社会的普及,反垄断案件数量稳定增长,各方对反垄断方向和节奏的把握愈发纯熟。

2. Q:中国反垄断立法的趋势如何?

A:《反垄断法》一共57条,大多属于原则性的规定,因此需要配套立法进行支撑。目前反垄断法律体系包含超过30部法律、行政法规、指南、行政规章、地方规章、办法等,已经成为中国法律数量最多、最复杂的部门法之一。尽管如此,与美欧等成熟反垄断司法辖区相比,中国反垄断法律体系仍显得不甚完善,因此长期的立法趋势仍是通过修法、配套立法等不断补充和细化反垄断规则。

就近期而言,企业需要特别关注正在制定中的六部反垄断指南:《关于滥用知识产权的反垄断指南》、《关于汽车业的反垄断指南》、《反垄断案件经营者承诺指南》、《横向垄断协议案件宽大制度适用指南》、《关于垄断协议豁免一般性条件和程序的指南》以及《关于认定经营者垄断行为违法所得和确定罚款的指南》。如果顺利的话,这些指南有望在2016年底或2017年初陆续出台。

另外,自2015年起,《反垄断法》的修订研究工作已经被列入国务院立法工作计划。一些高校已经通过调查问卷的形式征求业内反垄断专家的意见,修订稿也在酝酿之中。

3. Q:2016年7月开始实施的公平竞争审查制度的目标和意义是什么?

A:2016年6月14日,国务院发布了《关于在市场体系建设中建立公平竞争审查制度的意见》(国发〔2016〕34号),提出建立公平竞争审查制度,并对审查的对象、方式、标准等进行了规定。根据该意见,建立公平竞争审查制度的主要目的在于规范政府有关行为,防止出台排除、限制竞争的政策措施,逐步清理废除妨碍全国统一市场和公平竞争的规定和做法。此外,公平竞争审查制度将从源头着力遏制行政垄断,即由行政机关或法律、法规授权的具有管理公共事务职能的组织所实施的垄断行为,包括地方保护、区域封锁、行业壁垒等。

目前,江苏、湖南等地陆续出台了公平竞争审查制度的实施意见。同时,三大反垄断执法机构的负责人也前往各省进行调研,了解市场公平竞争现状,推动公平竞争审查制度的落实。

对于企业而言,公平竞争审查制度有望成为一个新的救济途径。如果企业在经营中遇到地方保护、行业进入限制、不公平的政府补贴等涉嫌行政垄断的行为,可以考虑援引公平竞争审查制度来维护自身权益。

4. Q:行业监管与反垄断执法有何关系?

A:在经济体制改革的宏观背景之下,行业监管与反垄断执法在许多目标上是一致的,如促进行业健康发展、保护公平竞争、维护消费者权益。有时候通过行业监管就能高效地实现目标,而有时候反垄断执法更具优势。当特定行业存在的问题较为突出时,行业主管部门和反垄断执法部门的关系可能变得紧密,二者可能互相配合、协调执法,合力解决问题。到目前为止,我们已经看到在电信、保险、汽车、互联网、医药等行业出现过这种合力。其中,由于汽车行业和医药行业正面临改革,行业监管与反垄断执法的双管齐下显得尤为明显。对于企业而言,其需要认清行业发展的趋势以及自身可能存在的问题,做好合规工作,否则反垄断执法可能接踵而至。

5. Q:近期反垄断调查的热点行业有哪些?

A:反垄断执法机构特别关注与消费者息息相关、涉及国计民生的行业,这从之前查处的反垄断案件就可以看出。此外,对国民经济有重要影响的行业也时常在调查视线范围之内。

近期,医药/医疗器械行业、汽车行业、公用事业领域明显属于反垄断调查的热点。其中,国家发改委通过《国家发展改革委关于在全国开展药品价格专项检查的通知》(发改价监〔2016〕1101号)明确表示要重点查处医药领域存在的垄断问题,而工商总局也通过《工商总局关于公用企业限制竞争和垄断行为突出问题的公告》(工商竞争字[2016]54号)在全国范围内开展整治公用企业限制竞争和垄断行为专项执法行动。

此外,随着中国知识产权的日益崛起,有关知识产权的反垄断纠纷显著增加,涉及标准必要专利(SEP)的案件也处于多发期。

6. Q:除了转售价格维持行为,还有哪些类型的纵向垄断协议行为?

A:《反垄断法》第14条禁止经营者达成纵向垄断协议,但其中只明确禁止了转售价格维持行为(即固定转售价或限定最低转售价),而未明确禁止其他行为。实践中,目前所有被处罚的纵向垄断协议案件均涉及转售价格维持行为,而无其他类型的行为。

但是,这并不表示其他纵向限制行为不会构成纵向垄断协议。就此而言,正在制定中的《关于汽车业的反垄断指南》提出一些类型的地域限制和客户限制(指经销商只能在特定区域或向特定客户销售产品)会严重损害竞争。虽然该指南针对的是汽车业,但对于其他行业同样具有借鉴作用。作为非价格纵向限制的主管部门,工商总局也在积极调研,考虑细化《反垄断法》第十四条第(三)项兜底条款的原则性规定。

除此之外,参考美欧的经验,还有不少类型的纵向垄断协议,比如排他性交易和最低购买量条款。由于纵向垄断协议比横向垄断协议限制竞争的效果小,且常常具有促进竞争的一面,故而获得豁免的可能性较大。不过,为了谨慎起见,我们通常建议企业对其向上下游交易方施加的纵向限制进行竞争评估,管理、减少甚至避免反垄断风险。

7. Q:MFN条款是否也可能构成纵向垄断协议?

A:MFN条款,即最惠国待遇条款,在反垄断领域一般指一个经销商要求其供应商向其供应产品的价格不得高于该供应商向其他经销商供应相同产品的价格。

MFN条款具有反竞争效果,因其可能使供应商没有动力降低价格,也可能阻碍新的市场进入者(新进入者无法获得更低的价格,从而有效地与现有经销商竞争)。另一方面,MFN条款具有促进竞争的效果,如确保经销商获得最低的价格,保护经销商在产品销售和推广方面的投资、防止其他经销商搭便车等。如果反竞争效果大于促进竞争的效果,那么MFN条款有可能构成纵向垄断协议。

近年来,国外反垄断执法机构对MFN条款的调查较多,特别是针对在线旅游网站(OTA,如Booking.com、Expedia)向酒店施加的MFN条款。但是,由于MFN条款对竞争影响的两面性,这些调查最终基本以OTA承诺修改MFN条款而告终,并没有进行罚款。

中国执法机构密切关注国际同行的类似案件,并且对MFN条款的限制竞争效果做了积极研讨。

8. Q:目前涉及专利的滥用市场支配地位案件是否均涉及标准必要专利?

A:自华为诉IDC案和高通案以来,标准必要专利成为反垄断执法和司法的热点。但是,有一些涉及专利的反垄断案件并非存在标准必要专利。例如,宁波中院正在审理的四家宁波企业诉日立金属案,涉及的就是非标准必要专利(该案讨论的烧结钕铁硼相关专利并不属于标准制定组织所制定的标准中的专利)。对于此类案件,要证明专利权人存在滥用市场支配地位是比较困难的,因为专利权人并没有向特定组织或组织成员声明其会按照FRAND原则许可专利,且相对于标准必要专利,证明非标准必要专利难以被替代通常更加复杂。

然而,专利与其他财产并无二异,均有可能给权利人带来市场力量,从而存在被滥用、对竞争造成损害的情况。特别是,由于在商业上的重要性,一些专利可能构成事实上的标准必要专利。就此而言,商务部在审查微软收购诺基亚一案中已经注意解决非标准必要专利存在的垄断问题。未来《关于滥用知识产权的反垄断指南》出台后,其也会为非标准必要专利的滥用问题提供分析思路。

9. Q:最近热门的滴滴收购优步中国案是否需要经营者集中反垄断申报?

A:近年来,商务部显著加强了对于未依法申报案件的调查和处罚工作。迄今为止,商务部已经公开了对于8起未依法申报案件的行政处罚,涉及跨国公司、国有企业和民营企业。

一项交易需要进行经营者集中反垄断申报的前提有两个:一是该交易构成经营者集中,二是参与集中的经营者达到法定营业额门槛。滴滴收购优步中国后对后者的业务具有控制权,所以这个交易应该是构成经营者集中。但是,其是否达到营业额门槛则存在较大的不确定性。

在反垄断申报意义下,营业额指经营者提供商品或服务所获得的收入。对于这个概念,一般很少发生争议。但在计算滴滴、优步中国的营业额时,却有两种说法,一种认为应该将滴滴、优步中国分给司机的收入也算进滴滴、优步中国的营业额中,另一种认为不应将该部分算进滴滴、优步中国的营业额。

由于法律的滞后性,对于这种新兴领域的问题并没有具体规定,仅能靠执法机构的自由裁量权。目前,商务部已经约谈滴滴,要求其说明未申报的原因。

需要注意的是,根据法律的规定,即便没有达到营业额门槛,如果一项交易具有或者可能具有排除、限制竞争效果,那么商务部仍然有权力主动进行调查。

 10. Q:并购交易中的不竞争条款是否具有反垄断风险?

A:通常在并购或合营企业的交易中,交易方会约定一个不竞争条款(non-compete clause),用以限制卖方在出售业务后再从事相同的业务,与买方竞争,或者限制合营双方从事与合营企业相同的业务,与合营企业竞争。

这些限制通常具有合理性,是交易得以进行所必需的。可以想象,假如买方知道卖方在出售业务后还会另起炉灶,那么他可能就不会收购卖方的业务。

但是,这种不竞争条款毕竟对竞争具有限制作用,因此其必须具有合理性。例如,不竞争的期限、业务范围、地域等都要谨慎设置,超过必要限度的限制可能存在反垄断风险。中国的执法机构对于"不竞争条款"在反垄断申报和行政调查中都曾有过具体分析和考察,对于企业而言,应根据具体交易情况如实、细致考察有关法律标准及商业实践。

  11. Q:2016年7月商务部最近附条件批准的百威英博收购南非米勒案对反垄断申报策略有何启示?

A:对于存在竞争问题的交易,商务部一般是附条件批准交易,很少直接禁止交易。自2008年8月1日《反垄断法》生效以来,商务部一共审查了超过1500起交易,其中只有27起交易是附条件批准,2起交易被禁止。

百威英博收购南非米勒案的最大亮点是,该案是第2起采用先行修正(fix it first)方案获得商务部附条件批准的案件,第1起先行修正的案例是2015年11月附条件批准的恩智浦收购飞思卡尔案。

简单来说,先行修正就是指在商务部批准交易之前先把解决竞争问题的方案确定下来;其一般适用于剥离资产的限制性条件中,需要在商务部批准交易前明确剥离资产的买方,并与其签署具有约束力的资产出售协议。

对于交易方而言,先行修正可以使他们具有较大的主动权,可以在时间压力相对较小的情况下选择潜在的剥离资产买家并与其讨价还价和签订协议。对于商务部而言,先行修正可以最大程度地保持剥离资产的价值和竞争力。因此,先行修正方案有助于使交易尽快完成交割,可以作为交易方的一个上佳选择。

12. Q:企业建立反垄断合规制度是否有助于减轻反垄断处罚?

A:建立反垄断合规制度通常能够帮助企业系统地预防反垄断风险,使员工具有反垄断风险意识,并能及时发现和应对垄断问题。此外,在国外许多国家,如英国、韩国、澳大利亚、美国等等,建立反垄断合规制度还可以作为减轻反垄断处罚的依据。

但是,对于建立反垄断合规制度是否有助于减轻反垄断处罚,中国目前的反垄断法律和行政处罚法中并无明文规定,《关于认定经营者垄断行为违法所得和确定罚款的指南》草案中也未涉及。

实践中,中国反垄断执法机构在做出处罚时或多或少地考虑企业违法的主观恶性。如果企业已经建立了反垄断合规制度,只是因为个别员工没有遵守,那么企业可以以此争取减轻处罚。

 13. Q:中国的反垄断民事诉讼有哪些发展趋势?

A:这个趋势可以从提起反垄断诉讼的当事人及其目的进行说明。首先,越来越多的企业已经学会运用反垄断诉讼作为争取商业利益的重要方式,而其对手也会考虑遭受反垄断诉讼的风险。其次,一些消费者为了寻求公平,即便可能获得的赔偿很少,也会向大企业发起挑战。例如,浙江省杭州市的消费者就曾针对保险公司的卡特尔行为提起后续民事索赔诉讼,尽管该案件最终以和解方式结案。在此方面,企业需要注意已经存在或潜在的消费者后继诉讼,即在企业被反垄断执法机构处罚之后,消费者根据执法机构的处罚决定书向法院提起民事诉讼。这种后继诉讼一旦爆发,对企业产生的影响甚至会超过行政处罚的影响。最后,修订后的《消费者权益保护法》便利了公益诉讼,对于侵害众多消费者合法权益的行为,消费者协会可以直接提起诉讼。目前,已经存在消费者协会起诉某手机厂商的先例。因此,不排除未来消费者协会对企业提起反垄断公益诉讼的可能性。

另外,垄断纠纷的可仲裁性也是反垄断民事的热点话题。2016年8月底,针对某垄断纠纷管辖权异议,江苏省高级人民法院做出终审裁定: 认定在垄断纠纷涉及公共利益,且我国法律未明确规定其可仲裁的情形下,当事人之间的仲裁协议不能作为确定管辖的依据。本案是中国法院首次在合同明确选择仲裁作为争议解决方式的情况下,对仲裁机构能否审理垄断纠纷进行认定。

 14. Q:中国目前是否有针对反垄断执法机构的行政处罚决定提起的行政诉讼?

A:根据目前公开的信息,在2014年,就有被处罚企业针对反垄断执法机构的决定提起行政诉讼。大概案情如下:2013年8月7日,江苏省物价局根据举报,依法对南京混凝土协会及部分混凝土生产企业开展了反价格垄断调查,并于2013年12月23日对实施价格垄断的南京混凝土协会及37家涉案企业共计罚款3900万元。行政处罚决定送达后,南京建工集团有限公司混凝土分公司、南京嘉盛凝土有限公司、南京大地万宏混凝土有限公司等三家企业不服行政处罚决定,向南京市中级法院提起行政诉讼。南京市中级法院受理后,南京大地万宏混凝土有限公司撤回起诉。法院经审理查明,南京建工集团有限公司混凝土分公司、南京嘉盛凝土有限公司的代理律师通过提供虚假证明的欺骗方式,误使法院立案,上述两企业的起诉已超过法定期限且无正当理由,遂依法裁定驳回起诉。

此外,针对7家山东会计师事务所不服山东省工商行政管理局于2016年3月对23家涉案当事人分割市场的垄断行为做出的行政处罚决定所提起的行政诉讼,山东省济南市历下区人民法院于2016年8月11日做出一审判决:认定山东省工商局"作出鲁工商处字[2016]第4号《行政处罚决定书》程序合法,认定事实清楚,证据确凿,适用法律法规并无不当",从而驳回原告的诉讼请求。本案是中国法院首次对执法机构做出的反垄断行政处罚决定进行司法审查并做出最终判决。

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