On March 24, 2017, the PRC National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) issued draft Guidelines for Price-Related Behavior of Industry Associations (“Guidelines”). The Guidelines encourage industry associations in the People’s Republic of China to engage in price-related behavior that benefits industry development, market competition and consumers’ legal interests; outline the legal risks that may be involved in various price-related behavior by industry associations; and provide guidance for industry associations to assess whether price-related behavior poses legal risk. The NDRC is accepting public comments until April 24, 2017.
Among other things, the draft Guidelines:
• Encourage industry associations to educate their members regarding pricing and antitrust-related laws and regulations, to protect their members’ pricing-related rights and interests, to implement industry self-regulation, to support enterprises’ effort in exploring overseas markets, and to participate in mediation of price-related disputes between members or with a consumer.
• Explain that legal risks exist when an industry association announces price information to its members or within the industry, which may lead to price collusion, or when an industry association announces price information to the public, which may affect the public’s expectations and have negative effects on the market.
• List other activities that involve significant risks, including activities that may be deemed to have obvious effects of eliminating or restricting competition, or activities that seriously disturb market prices.
• Prohibit an industry association that undertakes industry administration functions according to law, or performs certain industry functions authorized by administrative authorities, from abusing its role.
• Provide that industry associations are subject to legal liability according to pricing or antitrust-related laws, industry regulations, and social organization-related administrative regulations.
Comments on the proposed Guidelines may be submitted here by April 24, 2017.