Actions and Detail Panel
Law & Economics Workshop with Dr Angela Zhang, King's College London
Thu 23 March 2017, 16:00 – 17:30 GMT
The Anticompetitive Effects of State Ownership
Common ownership by the Chinese State caused a stir in Europe recently. During its review of a joint venture involving a Chinese nuclear power company, the European Commission held that it would treat all Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the energy sector as a single entity. This decision carries significant legal and practical implications for both businesses and the regulator. It also contradicts the previous approach that the Commission has taken in dealing with European SOEs. In this talk, I argue that the legal framework under the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) is unsuited to deal with the anticompetitive effects of state ownership. While the delineation of the boundary of an undertaking is a prerequisite for merger review, ownership and control are not absolute. Importantly, the extent to which the coordination by the Chinese State has lessened competition is a quantitative question, rather than a qualitative one. Consequently, a bright-line approach of defining an undertaking would lead to both over-inclusive and under-inclusive outcomes. To address the EU’s dilemma in dealing with Chinese SOEs, I propose to complement antitrust review with national security review. The optimal regulatory response to the Chinese acquisitions hinges not only on economics, but also, perhaps more importantly, on politics.
About the speaker
Dr Angela Zhang is a Senior Lecturer in competition law and trade (Associate Professor equivalent) at King’s. Her research focuses on applying economic analysis to the study of transnational legal issues. In 2014, she received the Concurrence Antitrust Writing Award for her study on bureaucratic politics in Chinese antitrust law. In 2015, her work on EU judges was chosen to be presented at the Stanford International Junior Faculty Forum. Angela is also frequently invited to speak at antitrust conferences in the United States, Europe and Asia. Her research has attracted media inquiries from The Economist, The New York Times and Reuters, and she regularly contributes op-eds to the popular press. Before joining academia, Angela practiced bankruptcy law at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York and antitrust law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Brussels. She also has practice experience in Beijing, Hong Kong and London. Angela received her LLB from Peking University in 2004 and her JSD (2011), JD (2008) and LLM (2006) from the University of Chicago Law School.
About the series
This seminar is part of the Law & Economics Workshop series. The King's Law & Economic Workshop, directed by Dr Angela Huyue Zhang, is a forum devoted to discussing the latest research in law and economics featuring both external and internal speakers. The Workshop aims to promote interdisciplinary research, and to foster collaboration between law professors and scholars from other disciplines.
Anyone with a keen interest in law and economics is welcome, yet potential attendees should bear in mind that we prefer to commence substantive conversation as quickly as possible without much in the way of presentation by the guest. Taking a look at the paper in advance is, therefore, advisable.