April was a month for both theory and practice in Chinese international merger clearance. After a long delay, Chinese authorities approved the mergers of Glencore and Xstrata and Gavilon and Marubeni. In both cases Beijing imposed strict conditions on the mergers. In the same week the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) also closed a public consultation on its new regulations on Restrictive Conditions for mergers. The gap between theory and practice was notable and instructive. With Glencore and Marubeni Beijing has used the merger clearance process less to address competition concerns and more to leverage favourable terms for the supply of what it sees as strategic commodities.
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