It is just a coincidence that both India and China have passed new competition laws this week. But there is a deeper significance to the fact that the world’s two emerging giants are trying, in different ways, to protect their growing economies from abuse of monopoly power.
The new competition law that has been tabled in our Parliament does have its oddities. Most countries ask companies to inform their antitrust authorities in advance about merger plans. But it worries us that the Competition Commission of India will get 210 days to clear a merger. As in politics, a week is a long time in business; and 210 days is an eternity. We hope that clearances will usually take less than these 210 days.
Thankfully, the changes in the Indian competition law have stayed clear of the murky waters of economic nationalism. In contrast, China demands security checks when global firms buy Chinese ones. Another sign that FDI is getting out of favour in China?