China plans food safety, competition watchdog

Reuters BEIJING (Reuters) — China will form a powerful new competition and food safety regulator in a bid to ramp up oversight of mergers and acquisitions and price-fixing as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to make policymaking more efficient.

In much-anticipated plans to create seven new ministries and a raft of government agencies announced on Tuesday, one of the most significant changes is creation of the national markets supervision management bureau.

The new body will decide on antimonopoly and pricing issues, replacing the roles played by the three national antitrust regulators: the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

The new bureau “will undertake unified antitrust enforcement and standardize and safeguard market order” among other duties, China’s State Council, or cabinet, said in a proposal submitted to the annual parliament session.

The proposal is certain to be approved before the session ends on March 20.

Unifying the structure under one new agency, rather than handing responsibility to one of the three existing watchdogs, could reduce infighting over antitrust issues, which is increasingly important for the government to resolve.Speech

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