China: SAIC Publishes First Boycott Case: Trade Association Again In Spotlight (In Chinese)

Last Updated: 23 March 2016
Article by Michael Gu

根据2015年12月8日国家工商行政管理总局( "工商总局")公布的处罚决定,广东省工商行政管理局( "广东省工商局 ")对广州市番禺动漫游艺行业协会( "动漫游艺协会 ")的垄断行为处以10万元罚款。这是中国反垄断执法机构首次针对联合抵制交易行为做出的处罚。

根据处罚决定,本案中广东省工商局并非像通常案件由接到第三方举报而引发调查,而是基于2013年3月13日《广州日报》刊登的一篇报道而对动漫游艺协会展开了调查。该报道称动漫游艺协会与其52家会员企业共同签署了一份《展会联盟协议书》。该协议书明确规定所有会员不得参加与动漫游艺产业无关的或动漫游艺协会认为不能参加的展会。

经过初步调查,广东省工商局认为动漫游艺协会的行为违反了《中华人民共和国反垄断法》( "《反垄断法》 ")。2014年7月21日,经工商总局授权,广东省工商局对动漫游艺协会涉嫌垄断行为正式立案调查。

经进一步调查,广东省工商局认定,由于该协议书的各签署方均是同业竞争者,且该协议书的签订是为了实施联合抵制交易的行为,产生了限制、排除竞争的效果,该协议书构成《反垄断法》第13条所规定的垄断协议。据此,广东省工商局对动漫游艺协会处以10万元罚款并责令停止该违法行为。

垄断协议的认定

在处罚决定中,广东省工商局列举了横向垄断协议的三个构成要件:(1) 经营者之间存在竞争关系;(2) 经营者达成了协议、决定或者其他协同行为;(3) 经营者达成的协议、决定或者其他协同行为具有排除、限制竞争的效果。广东省工商局在其处罚决定中对每个构成要件均进行了详细分析。

首先,签署《展会联盟协议书》的52家会员企业均来自动漫游艺行业,彼此间在广州市区域内存在明显的竞争关系,应被认定为同行业内的竞争者。

其次,《展会联盟协议书》的签署是一个既定事实。52家会员企业,通过签署该协议书承诺联合抵制广州市区域内除动漫游艺协会主导、主办或者承办的动漫展会之外的其他动漫展会。

再次,广东省工商局认为该协议限制了会员企业自由参加展览会的权利,对动漫游戏展会行业应有的自由竞争产生了现实或潜在的影响和制约。动漫游艺协会辩称,该协议书签署后,其会员企业既没有实际上根据该协议书抵制参加其他展会,同时动漫游艺协会也并未通过任何方式对会员企业参加展会加以干涉,因此该协议书并没有实际执行。广东省工商局并没有接受动漫游艺协会的这一抗辩理由,因为该协议的签订已经导致会员企业参与展会的自由选择权在很大程度上被限制,这必然会损害正常的竞争秩序。因此,广东省工商局认定该《展会联盟协议书》具有实质上或潜在的反竞争效果。

综上所述,《展会联盟协议书》被认定为典型的违反《反垄断法》的垄断协议。

行业协会的主导作用

动漫游艺协会作为番禺市动漫游艺行业的行业协会,对《展会联盟协议书》的签订,起到了组织和推动作用。

《反垄断法》第十六条规定"行业协会不得组织本行业的经营者从事本章禁止的垄断行为"。《工商行政管理机关禁止垄断协议行为的规定》第九条第二项也规定"禁止行业协会以下列方式组织本行业的经营者从事本规定禁止的垄断协议行为:(二)召集、组织或者推动本行业的经营者达成含有排除、限制竞争内容的协议、决议、纪要、备忘录等"。本案中,动漫游艺协会起草了《展会联盟协议书》,并向其会员企业征集签名盖章。该协议书还规定,会员若要参加非该协会主导、主办或承办的动漫游戏展会,需经该协会事先书面批准。这意味着动漫游艺协会通过该协议深度介入并制约了相关会员企业的正常经营活动,对市场竞争产生不利影响。

动漫游艺协会抗辩称,《展会联盟协议书》是应会员企业的要求起草的,目的是为了减少会员企业参加展会的数量,其不应仅仅因为记录了会员企业的要求而被认定为该协议的组织者。广东省工商局则认为,作为行业协会,动漫游艺协会应当清楚认识到该行为是否属于其自身的职责范围,以及该行为是否会产生违法的后果,应成员企业的要求而起草该协议并不是一个有效的抗辩理由。

评论

本案是中国反垄断执法机构执法历史上公布的首例联合抵制交易案,但行业协会并非违反反垄断法的"初犯"。事实上,行业协会长期以来都处于反垄断执法的风口浪尖。例如,截止2015年12月初的工商总局反垄断执法史上共结案34起,其中就有10起案件涉及行业协会。同样,国家发展与改革委员会( "发改委")近年来也调查了几起备受关注的涉及行业协会的卡特尔案件。例如,2014年,发改委因上海黄金饰品行业协会组织五家金店联合操纵饰品价格而对该行业协会做出了处罚。同年,发改委查明浙江保险行业协会组织浙江省内23家财产保险公司于2009年至2011年期间多次协调、达成并实施固定机动车保险费率及代理手续费的横向垄断协议。

尽管行业协会不会被认定为市场中的经营者,但这并不意味着行业协会不受到反垄断法的规制。上述2014年的两起案件中,涉案的两家行业协会都被处以《反垄断法》中所规定的最高罚款额即人民币50万元。而本案中动漫游艺协会仅被处以人民币10万元的罚款。不同案件中罚款金额的差异有其各自的原因,如本案中动漫游艺协会可能是由于积极配合调查的态度而避免了更高额的罚款。然而,仅仅人民币10万元的罚款似乎并不能称为严格意义上的"处罚",因为其很难起到"处罚"本应具有的威慑及警示作用。

除此之外,由于处罚决定对参与垄断协议的52家会员企业是否受到处罚的情况并未予以说明,难免使得公众对此产生疑问。从反垄断执法的角度看,签署、实施联合抵制交易协议的会员企业也应当受到处罚,即使免于处罚,那么公布的处罚决定中也应说明相应的豁免理由及相关程序。尽管本次处罚决定中没有提及参与垄断协议的经营者的法律责任,这仅应被解读为行业协会因其组织并推动联合抵制交易的行为应受到惩处,不应被误读为参与联合抵制交易协议的经营者对垄断协议不需要承担责任。

此外,中国竞争执法机构在分析横向垄断协议时以往通常会适用本身违法原则。本身违法原则是指,协议只要经签署、实施就会被认定为违法,无需考虑其是否实际对竞争产生不利影响。然而,本案中广东省工商局似乎适用了合理原则对垄断协议进行分析。合理原则即判断某一行为是否属于垄断协议时,执法机构不仅要查明相关协议实际已达成、实施,而且还需要实际论证该协议具有排除、限制竞争的效果。

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions