The People’s Republic of China’s latest weapon in its economic war against the West, and against the United States in particular, is to slow-walk merger approvals on anti-trust grounds when either party to the merger, or its result, does or would do business within the PRC.
As preconditions for approving some of the transactions, the people said, officials at the State Administration for Market Regulation, China’s antitrust regulator known as SAMR, have asked companies to make available in China products they sell in other countries—an attempt to counter the US’s increased export controls targeting China.
The Chinese demands could put US companies in an impossible position as Washington has enacted legislation restricting American companies’ ability to sell to China and expanding certain types of production there.
And this, especially [emphasis added]:
For multinationals, it doesn’t take much for a merger to trigger a Chinese antitrust review. For instance, if two companies in a deal have revenue of more than $117 million a year from China, the merger needs Beijing to sign off.
This is an easy enough conundrum to solve. The two companies, along with the merged result, could simply stop doing business within the PRC and with businesses domiciled within the PRC, rendering that nation’s slow-walk irrelevant from the PRC’s lack of standing to object.
Companies should already be stopping doing business inside the PRC or with businesses domiciled in the PRC, so a merger agreement that asserts “no business to be done in the PRC” seems completely straightforward.