China: A Review On The First International Marine Enterprise Monopoly Case (In Chinese)

Last Updated: 29 March 2016
Article by Michael Gu and Sihui Sun

背景

2015年年末,国家发展和改革委员会("发改委")对八家滚装货物国际海运企业达成并实施价格垄断协议的行为做出了严厉的处罚,合计罚款人民币4.07亿元 1。此案从2014年8月启动调查 2,至2015年12月底结案,历时16个月,是中国滚装货物海运领域首例反垄断案件。涉案企业包括日本邮船株式会社("日本邮船")、川崎汽船株式会社("川崎汽船")、株式会社商船三井("商船三井")、威克滚装船务有限公司("威克滚装船务")、华伦威尔森物流有限公司("华轮威尔森物流")、智利南美轮船有限公司("智利南美轮船")、日本东车轮船有限公司("日本东车轮船")和智利航运滚装船务有限公司("智利航运滚装船务")。

发改委综合考察了涉案企业垄断行为的违法性质、持续时间、情节严重程度、案件涉及范围等因素,同时结合涉案企业配合调查的表现及相关整改措施,对八家海运企业分别按照其2014年度在中国相关市场上销售额的不同比例处以罚款。同时,发改委利用宽大政策,迅速突破案件,并依法对主动报告达成垄断协议有关情况并提供重要证据的前三家涉案企业按照主动报告的顺序分别给予了全免、减轻60%及减轻30%处罚的宽大待遇。

违法行为

(1)违法方式和性质

八家滚装货物国际海运企业在往返于中国与其他国家和地区的滚装货物海运服务市场上具有横向竞争关系。滚装货物是指包括汽车、机械等非集装箱装运并且可以在轮船上通过滚上、滚下的方式装卸的货物。为分割销售市场牟取暴利,维持或抬高运费水平,涉案企业通过电话、会议、聚餐、电子邮件、专程拜访等方式频繁进行双边或多边沟通,针对滚装货物制造商发出的进出口中国的海运业务招标、询价等事项,交换敏感信息、进行价格协商、商讨投标意向、分配客户及航线、串通投标,多次达成协调价格的协议并予以实施,协助具有竞争关系的海运企业获得海运订单。涉案企业相互协助的具体方式如下:涉案企业之间在业务承揽过程中约定,针对自身已经承运的特定航线上特定制造商的业务,要求涉案的竞争对手给予"尊重",以不报价或者报高价的方式,协助自身获得订单,维持甚至提高运费水平;反之,得到帮助的企业也会"投桃报李",协助对手获得订单。涉案企业相互勾结、交换敏感信息,抬高标价,属于典型的串通投标行为,分割了销售市场,达到了固定或变更商品价格的违法目的。《反垄断法》中并未明文规定串通投标是垄断协议的一种,但是仔细分析本案涉案企业的行为,可以发现涉案企业串通投标的行为是为了实施横向垄断协议,统一固定或变更承运价格,从而达到维持订单、分配客户及航线、削弱同行间的价格竞争等目的。因此,发改委在本次处罚决定中明确此类串通投标行为属于垄断协议。涉案企业的行为违反了《反垄断法》第十三条规定,构成了与具有竞争关系的经营者达成并实施"固定或者变更商品价格"、"分割销售市场"的垄断协议的行为,排除、限制了相关市场竞争,损害了中国相关滚装货物进出口商和消费者的利益。

本案的隐蔽性较强,涉案企业之间采取了很多手段来规避反垄断执法机构的监管。 3 如涉案企业采用别称或代号来隐瞒企业的真实名称;在重要文件及往来邮件中标识"阅后即焚"、"立即销毁"等,避免留下任何纸质依据或电子痕迹。一方面,涉案企业销毁罪证的做法为发改委取证、攻破案件造成一定困难,另一方面,涉案企业这种"欲盖弥彰"的手段,又恰恰印证了其违法的主观故意,其对达成横向协议有清楚的认识。

(2)违法时间的起算

涉案海运企业之间交换敏感信息、协商并固定价格、分配客户和航线的垄断行为由来已久。根据发改委处罚决定书,涉案企业在2008年8月《反垄断法》生效前就已经开始实施垄断行为,自《反垄断法》生效以后,这种垄断行为仍在继续,直至2012年9月才停止。发改委在处罚决定书中提到"至少在2008年至2012年9月期间...",可见发改委并没有追究涉案企业在《反垄断法》实施以前所从事的垄断行为的责任。而在此前的十二家日本汽车零部件和轴承企业横向垄断协议案 4中,发改委认定涉案日本零部件企业的违法行为持续时间长达10年(自2000年起至2010年结束),显然是将这些企业在《反垄断法》实施以前的垄断行为也计算在违法行为持续时间里了。笔者曾对此过于严苛的执法尺度提出过质疑。此次,发改委仅就八家企业自《反垄断》法实施后的垄断行为进行认定和处罚,笔者认为其执法更加严谨,体现了"法不溯及既往"的基本法治原则。

(3)案件涉及范围及损害竞争

除了涉案企业违法持续时间长外,垄断行为的影响面也极广。涉案企业垄断行为涉及的航线包括欧洲—中国、北美—中国、中国—欧洲、中国—北美、中国—南美、中国—西南非、中国近海等全部主要航线;在滚装货物的运输方面,同时涉及多个品牌的制造商,包括汽车和工程机械的滚装运输服务。

涉案企业达成并实施固定价格、分割市场的垄断协议,直接排除、限制了中国相关滚装货物国际海运服务市场上的竞争,同时排挤了具有价格竞争力的市场新进入者及潜在进入者。涉案企业达成的双边或多边横向协议直接导致了中国相关滚装货物国际海运费率的增加,损害了中国相关进出口商和终端消费者的利益,削弱了相关制造商的国际竞争力。

宽严相济的处罚

发改委一方面按照涉案企业违法行为的严重程度、持续时间、涉及范围等确定罚款幅度,同时又结合相关企业的自首情节和配合调查的程度进行宽大处理。

根据发改委公布的处罚决定书,对违法行为持续时间长、涉及范围广,且在部分违法事件中起主导作用,违法情节严重的三家企业——日本邮船、川崎汽船及商船三井,均应处以2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额10%的罚款(但上述三家企业由于适用了宽大政策而最终被免除或减轻了处罚)。对违法行为持续时间长,且在部分违法事件中其主导作用,违法情节较重,但涉及品牌、违法事件和航线数量较少的智利南美轮船和日本东车轮船分别处以2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额6%及5%的罚款。而对涉及品牌、违法事件和航线数量较少,且仅起到协助配合作用的智利航运处以2014年度销售额4%的罚款。

发改委根据违法情节的严重程度来确定处罚所占上一年度营业额百分比的做法在之前的案件中也有所体现。十二家日本汽车零部件和轴承企业垄断案 5中,只协商过一种产品的古河、矢崎、住友被处以上一年度营业额6%的罚款,而协商过两种以上产品的爱三、三叶和三菱电机被处以上一年度营业额8%的罚款。本案中发改委根据违法情节,确立了三家企业应被处以上一年度相关市场营业额10%的罚款(但最终发改委对上述三家企业适用了宽大政策确定了实际处罚额度),情节最轻的企业也受到了上一年度相关市场营业额4%的处罚,体现出发改委对违反反垄断法的企业毫不留情、严厉执法的精神。(具体处罚情况见下表)

被处罚企业 处罚原因 减轻处罚原因 2014年度百分比 处罚金额(元) 被处罚企业
8 日本邮船NYK Line 违法行为持续时间长、涉及范围广,且在部分违法事件中起主导作用,违法情节严重; 适用宽大政策,主动报告了汽车等滚 第一家主动报告的企业,全部免除 免除处罚 ——
川崎汽船K-Line

处以2014年度与中国市场相关的滚装货物国际海运服务销售额10%的罚款 装货物国际海运市场达成垄断协议的有关情况并提供了重要证据

第二家主动报告的企业,减轻60% 第二家主动报告的企业,减轻60% 第二家主动报告的企业,减轻60%
商船三井Mitsui OSK Lines

第三家主动报告的企业,减轻30% 7% 38,121,126
威克滚装船务EUKOR Car Carriers 违法行为持续时间长、涉及范围广,且当事人在部分违法事件中起主导作用,违法情节严重,但当事人能主动提供发改委未掌握的有关违法事实和证据 —— 9% 284,731,338
华轮威尔森物流WWL 8% 45,061,269
智利南美轮船CSAV 违法行为持续时间长,且在部分违法事件中起主导作用,违法情节较重,但涉及品牌、违法事件和航线数量较少 —— 6% 3,076,680
日本东车轮船Eastern Car Liner 5% 11,268,578
智利航运滚装船务 CCNI 违法行为持续时间长,涉及品牌、违法事件和航线数量较少,且仅起到协助配合作用 4% 1,198,354

八家滚装货物国际海运企业受处罚表格

发改委在处理一系列反垄断大案要案时,处罚虽然严厉,但秉持宽严相济的原则,区别对待,对可以适用宽大政策的企业予以赦免或减轻处罚,以此鼓励达成横向垄断协议的成员间就主动投案进行"赛跑"。

根据《反价格垄断行政执法程序规定》第十四条,第一个主动报告达成价格垄断协议的有关情况并提供重要证据的,可以免除处罚;第二个主动报告达成价格垄断协议的有关情况并提供重要证据的,可以按照不低于50%的幅度减轻处罚;其他主动报告达成价格垄断协议的有关情况并提供重要证据的,可以按照不高于50%的幅度减轻处罚。根据《中国改革报》报道 6,三家企业在同一个星期内"主动投案",时间间隔非常短。这说明宽大政策在涉案企业之间形成的有效博弈使企业在罚款减免的激励作用下,争先恐后地投案,以便获得减免或减轻处罚的最有利地位。主动投案的三家企业为日本邮船、川崎汽船及商船三井,均属于原本应被处以其年营业额最高百分比(10%)罚款的企业。可见,减免或减轻处罚对于违法情节严重的企业来讲更有吸引力,因此上述企业也更有动力在案件调查的初期甚至尚未开始调查时主动投案。

除宽大政策外,提供发改委未掌握的情报也对减轻处罚具有积极作用。涉案企业威克滚装船务和华轮威尔森物流没能及时主动报告违法情况,无法适用宽大政策,但是在发改委的调查中,能够主动提供执法机构尚未掌握的有关违法事实和证据,因此相较于被处罚最严厉的三家企业(日本邮船、川崎汽船及商船三井),威克滚装船务和华轮威尔森分别被处以占2014年度相关市场销售额9%及8%的罚款。可见,企业即使未能把握时机适用宽大制度,只要能在调查时积极配合并提供执法机构未掌握的证据,仍会对最终处罚结果产生积极作用。

总结

作为中国滚装货物海运领域首例反垄断案,此次巨额罚单表明了发改委继续强化反垄断执法的决心。引发本案调查的原因之一是2012年9月美国、欧盟、日本联合展开的对滚装货物国际海运公司的突袭调查 7引起了发改委的密切关注。通常对于此类在其他重要的司法辖区内的反垄断调查,发改委都会及时跟进。例如2014年十二家日本汽车零部件及轴承企业垄断案就是典型的发改委跟进境外反垄断调查并进行处罚的案件。在此提醒正在或曾经遭受过其他反垄断执法辖区调查的企业及行业,应密切关注其在中国辖区内的合规情况,及时进行反垄断风险评估、排查,同时加强反垄断合规制度的建设、加强反垄断合规培训教育。如发现涉嫌垄断行为,在咨询专业意见的基础上,建议尽早向反垄断执法机构主动报告情况,并适时采取整改措施,以实际行动消除相关违法行为的后果,争取能取得豁免或最大程度的减轻处罚。

同时,宽大制度在本案查处中的作用突出。对于涉案企业,即使存在逃避调查的侥幸心理,但企业更应清楚一旦被处罚所带来的后果。主动报告并提供重要证据的顺序与免除或减轻处罚的幅度有直接关联,在此激励机制下,能在卡特尔成员之间形成有效博弈,导致成员内部瓦解。而对于执法机构,宽大制度对案件的突破有举足轻重的作用。据报道 8,在本案中发改委一开始是在外围调查,在首家企业主动投案后,发改委随即启动了正式调查。随后在一周内另有两家企业先后投案,发改委利用这前三家投案企业提供的资料,逐渐掌握了主要案情和证据,从而奠定本案查处的基础。

Footnotes

1. 详见发改委新闻:http://jjs.ndrc.gov.cn/gzdt/201512/t20151228_769084.html

2. 中国改革报报道:聚焦滚装货物海运领域反垄断第一案。详情请见:http://www.cfgw.net.cn/2015-12/28/content_18263997.htm

3.中国改革报报道:聚焦滚装货物海运领域反垄断第一案。详情请见:http://www.cfgw.net.cn/2015-12/28/content_18263997.htm

4. 日本汽车零部件和轴承企业垄断案详见发改委网站:http://jjs.ndrc.gov.cn/gzdt/201408/t20140820_622756.html

5. 日本十二家企业实施汽车零部件和轴承价格垄断被国家发展改革委罚款12.35亿元,详情见发改委网站:http://jjs.ndrc.gov.cn/gzdt/201408/t20140820_622756.html

6.《中国改革报》报道:聚焦滚装货物海运领域反垄断第一案。详情请见:http://www.cfgw.net.cn/2015-12/28/content_18263997.htm

7.《中国改革报》报道:聚焦滚装货物海运领域反垄断第一案。详情请见:http://www.cfgw.net.cn/2015-12/28/content_18263997.htm

8. 《中国改革报》报道:聚焦滚装货物海运领域反垄断第一案。详情请见:http://www.cfgw.net.cn/2015-12/28/content_18263997.htm

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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