December 14, 2016 7:58:44 am
China will soon slap a penalty on an un-named US automaker for monopolistic behaviour, the official China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday, quoting a senior state planning official. Investigators found the U.S. company had instructed distributors to fix prices starting in 2014, Zhang Handong, director of the National Development and Reform Commission’s price supervision bureau, was quoted as saying.
News of the penalty comes at a sensitive time for China-US relations after US president-elect Donald Trump called into question a long-standing US policy of acknowledging that Taiwan is part of “one China”.
Beijing maintains that self-ruled Taiwan is a wayward province of China and has never renounced the use of force to take it back. Zhang was quoted in an exclusive interview with the newspaper as saying that no one should “read anything improper” into the timing or target of the penalty. The article did not give further details.
China, the world’s largest auto market, has become crucial to the strategies of car companies around the world, including major U.S. players General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. Trump’s challenges to China on trade and Taiwan have rattled American companies who have long benefited from stable relations between the two countries but now fear retaliation by Beijing if Trump were to act.
The penalty is part of a government crackdown on what it has called anti-trust behavior by foreign automakers and dealers. It would be the second penalty by the NDRC this month and the seventh fine issued to automakers since the commission began anti-monopoly investigations in 2011, the newspaper said.
Targeted firms have included Audi AG, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Motor Corp, and one of Nissan Motor Co Ltd’s joint ventures.
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