China: Comity And State Compulsion: What Is The Difference And Why Should It Matter? (Chinese)

Last Updated: 15 January 2018
Article by Frank Fine and Hu Tie

国际礼让与国家强制:区别与意义

读者可能知道,美国维生素C卡特尔诉讼案,在2016年9月20日以联邦第二巡回法院的判决告一段落。这是一个具有分水岭意义的案件。该案的标志性意义并非关于卡特尔法律,而是在于:在此类情况下,美国法院是否具有管辖权。本案中,联邦第二巡回法院推翻了联邦地区法院的判决,认为基于礼让的国际法原则,美国法院对本案没有管辖权。

本文旨在解释什么是国际礼让原则?它与国家强制抗辩的区别是什么?对中国企业(尤其是国有企业)来说有什么意义?

国际礼让是一项国际公法原则。从法律上来说,国际礼让通常是指一个国家(或者法律体系)的法院认可另一个国家(或者法律体系)的法律和司法行为。但是,这一概念也可能被延伸至一个国家(或者法律体系)的行政机构认可另一个国家(或者法律体系)的行政机构所作出的执法行为。

在维生素C 案中,中国商务部通过庭审提交了法庭之友意见(Amicus Curiae Brief),认为中国的法律要求被告采取被诉参与固定价格的行为,联邦第二巡回法院认定国际礼让原则使其必须接受商务部的观点。值得注意的是,关于被告是否在事实上受到中国法律的强制而参与固定价格,第二巡回上诉法院和地区法院在这一点上并无分歧。更确切的说,是地区法院滥用自由裁量权,认定这里存在强制。换句话说,国际礼让原则阻止其具有管辖权,而该管辖权将导致地区法院作出证据上的认定。

与地区法院相反,第二巡回上诉法院适用了一项包括10个因素在内的平衡测试来认定本案是否适用国际礼让原则,以及地区法院是否有权作出判决。这些因素包括:(1)美国法律和中国法律之间是否存在真实的冲突;(2)当事人的主要营业场所;(3)违法行为在每一司法管辖区的相对重要性;(4)实施中国法律以及获得有效救济的可能性;(5)对美国商业的任何影响;(6)如果美国法院实施管辖,对于外交关系的潜在不利影响;(7)如果实施美国法律,是否将导致被告违反另一国法律或者与另一国法定义务相冲突;(8)美国法院是否能够强制实施有效的救济;(9)如果中国强制实施了类似的救济,美国是否可以接受;以及(10)两国之间是否已经存在相关国际礼让事宜的条约。

本案中,第二巡回上诉法院认为,衡量上述各因素的结论是:在国际法下,美国法院实施管辖权的是不合适的。很明显,作出这一结论的主要原因是:美国和中国的法律对被告是否有义务参与固定价格有着不同的态度;并且如果联邦地区法院认定被告参与固定价格的行为违法,继而有义务"不"参与固定价格,那么被告将违反中国商务部对他们的要求,这可能导致在中国承担责任。

还值得注意的是,美国和中国的反垄断机构之间并不存在任何涉及国际礼让原则的约定(正如上述第10项因素所言)。

有意思的是,欧盟委员会竞争总署从来没有对维生素C展开卡特尔调查,并且,似乎也从未公开地解释过这一立场。欧盟委员会可能基于相关政治敏感性的影响,更加倾向于由美国法院来处理相关问题。因为如果在美国发生的集体诉讼中原告获得了有利的判决,那么中国的被告可能面临巨额赔偿,这便起到了足够的威慑效果。

但是,假设一下,如果欧盟委员会竞争总司会如何处理维生素C案调查?并且会如何处理国际礼让问题?

首先一个问题是,欧盟委员会竞争总署会查看2012年欧盟和中国发改委签订的合作协议。这时,会发现没有相关国际礼让原则的约定。的确,该协议确认并未产生国际法项下的权利和义务。但是接下来,欧盟委员会将考虑是否适用国际公法下的礼让原则。对此,会发现,欧盟委员会或者欧洲法院均没有在任何一件反垄断案件中适用过国际礼让原则来排除管辖权。欧盟委员会可以使用的案例是1988年欧洲法院对Wood Pulp (Cases 89/95)一案的判决。来考察适用国际礼让原则的正当性:该案中,欧洲法院认定美国和欧盟之间不存在法律上的冲突。然而,具体来看,美国Webb-Pomerene法案只是对出口卡特尔豁免适用美国反垄断法,但是并没有强迫被告参与固定价格,所以实施欧盟反垄断法并不会导致被告违反美国反垄断法。欧盟委员会在更近的LCD(Case COMP/39.909 of 12 August 2010)案中也考虑过礼让原则的适用问题,具体而言,韩国-欧盟合作协议的第5条约定了"消极"礼让,即"一方应当审慎考虑另一方的重要利益",但是,欧盟委员会对此认定,韩国公平贸易委员会(KFTC)在本案中从未主张过任何重要利益。

尽管从欧盟的决定来看,未作出清晰的表态,但是,如果欧盟委员会曾经对中国维生素C生产商展开调查,那么相同或者类似于联邦第二巡回上诉法院的国际礼让原则适用将有可能发生。 欧盟并非否认了国际礼让原则的合法性,只是目前还没有一个合适的案例来适用该原则。

如前所述,国家强制抗辩不同于国际礼让原则。首先,国家强制抗辩并不是一项国际公法原则。该概念源自这样的观念,即企业不应当对国家要求其所做而非其本身想做的行为承担责任"。其次,适用国家强制抗辩并不会导致管辖权的排除,而是会在决定中认定企业不构成反垄断侵权。事实上,如果一方以国家强制作为抗辩,那么将与所有和责任有关的证据一起来认定。

国家强制抗辩如何得以证明?正如欧洲法院在Ladbroke Racing (Cases C-359-95P of 1997)案中所明确的:当一家企业被一国的立法要求违反欧盟反垄断法,或者当一国的立法所形成的"法律体系"排除竞争时,适用国家强制抗辩。并且,欧洲法院在更近的Deutsche Telekom (Case 290/08P of 2010)案中明确:如果相关行为仅仅为一国所鼓励的或者更容易实施的,则不适用国家强制抗辩。

最后,值得注意的是,直到目前,欧盟没有在涉及来自非欧盟成员国的强制的任何调查中适用过国家强制抗辩。但是,适用该抗辩(尤其是相关中国企业的抗辩)并不存在法律上的障碍。至少在四起案件中,被告以第三国政府强制作为抗辩,但是,欧盟认定其并不满足强制的要求——如果强迫存在,那么这个抗辩是适当的。例如Aluminium Imports from Eastern Europe (OJ L 92/1 (1985)案、Franco-Japanese Ballbearings (OJ L 343/19 (1974)案、French-West African Shipowners' Committees (OJ L 134/1 (1992)案和Compagnie Maritime Belge Transports (Cases C-395-96P of 2000)案。据此,我们可能可以预见到在一个合适的欧盟案件中,中国企业能够成功地主张了国家强制抗辩。

假如欧盟委员会竞争总司对维生素C案件展开调查,是否会得出有关公司受到中国政府强迫而固定价格的结论,是难以预测的。而且,欧盟委员会竞争总司是否会允许中华人民共和国商务部在一个涉及第三方的调查中进行口头陈述,同样未知。然而,并没有程序性机制或其他设置阻挡这一过程。考虑到当前的双边合作氛围,应该相信欧盟委员会竞争总司不会阻挠这一过程。即使没有此类双边会谈,欧盟委员会竞争总司也几乎肯定会欢迎商务部书面提交意见。

显然,维生素C诉讼案引起了对礼让原则和国家强制抗辩不少争议和公众兴趣,特别是在涉及中国法律和中国公司的时候。当中国国企在他国遵照中国政府的指示行动,尤其在可能直接由此违反他国反垄断法之时,知道自身在外国的合法权利是比较明智的。

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