Transparency is in Mofcom's interests

Author: | Published: 1 May 2009

Rachel Evans
Asia editor

Rumours and speculation dogged Coca-Cola's bid for Huiyuan Juice from the beginning. Had the regulator accepted the filing? Had Phase Two begun? Phase One even? What would China decide? The attempted acquisition was like a soap opera, keeping companies, lawyers and journalists on the edge of their seats.

Away from the decision-making, commentators declared the merger a test case for China's Anti-Monopoly Law and indicative of regulatory attitude to future deals. So when the deal was finally prohibited on March 18, the hype was such that any outcome would have prompted both protest and praise.

Predictably, some labelled it political and protectionist and others held it up as a clinical procedure articulating legitimate antitrust concerns. Both are partial truths. While politics should not affect a competition decision, no sphere of life in China is apolitical. It seems likely that politics played some role. But it is encouraging...