The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (NDRC) have signed a memorandum of understanding.

“This agreement paves the way for increased engagement between the ACCC and NDRC on international cartel investigations affecting Australian and Chinese markets,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

"The agreement allows the agencies to take coordinated action in response to anti-competitive conduct, including through the exchange of information and evidence.

“This will allow the ACCC and NDRC to make the best use of available resources and, where possible, coordinate approaches.”

The NDRC Bureau of Price Supervision and Anti-monopoly is one of three bodies administering China’s Anti-monopoly Law. It is the agency responsible for price supervision and related enforcement action.  The ACCC now has cooperation agreements in place with all three of China’s competition agencies.

“As cross-border trade increases, it makes sense that competition agencies work together to build and share sound practices and principles," Mr Sims said.

"For both countries, the MOU recognises the importance of cooperation in the field of competition enforcement, particularly in the fight against international cartels.”

The MOU signed by NDRC Chairman Xu Shaoshi and the ACCC Chairman is available on the ACCC’s website

About NDRC and antitrust

In the calendar year to October China has imposed over 6.6 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in antitrust fines involving 10 cases. The NDRC is currently working on antitrust guidelines for the automobile industry and reportedly plans to step up law enforcement in the future.

In February, the NDRC imposed a record fine of 6.09 billion yuan on mobile chip maker Qualcomm for charging discriminatory fees in the Chinese market when licensing mobile chip technology. In 2014 the NDRC fined Chrysler, Audi and 12 Japanese companies following antitrust investigations.

The NDRC also has antitrust cooperation agreements with Korean, Japanese, American and European counterparts.