China charges 12 Japanese auto parts manufacturers with violations of antitrust law

The 12 companies were fined a total of roughly $200 million for price fixing

The U.S. isn’t the only country with a wide extraterritorial reach of antitrust laws. 12 Japanese manufacturers of automotive parts are facing fines following a Chinese investigation.

The Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) recently concluded an investigation into 12 Japanese automotive part makers, finding multiple violations of price fixing in charges to Chinese factories. In total, the Commission has fined the 12 companies roughly $200 million for the violations.

“The National Development and Reform Commission will pursue clues of other illegality that were found during this investigation, as it continues to carry out investigations to ensure fair enforcement, maintain fair competition in the market, protect the legitimate rights and interests of operators and consumers and create a favorable environment for economic and social development,” a release from the Commission said.

One company, NSK, will pay 174.9 million renminbi (USD 28.4 million) for undisclosed violations of antitrust law. According to the New York Times, the company says its subsidiaries “have taken and will continue to take comprehensive measures with the help of outside experts and others to ensure strict compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

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The NTN Corporation, meanwhile, will pay 119.2 million renminbi (USD 19.4 million) for violations. The company pledged to follow fair and honest principles of competition moving forward.

Among the 12 corporations fined were seven auto parts manufacturers: Aisan Industry Company, the Denso Corporation, the Furukawa Electric Company, the Mitsuba Corporation, the Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Sumitomo Electric Industries and the Yazaki Corporation. In addition to NSK and the NTN Corporation, auto bearings manufacturer Jtekt Corporation was also fined.

It’s not just Japanese automotive companies that have been feeling Chinese pressure, however. On August 4, Commission investigators searched the Shanghai offices of German automaker Daimler for information. And General Motors has also announced that it is complying with Commission requests for information.

This isn’t the first time that some of these Japanese companies have faced heavy antitrust fines. Heavily contributing to a then-record $5 billion in False Claims Act penalties in the 2012 fiscal year was a $470 million paid by Yazaki Corp., which admitted to price-fixing in the auto parts market.

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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