On 11 February, the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China (MOFCOM) published the final text of its Interim Provisions on the Standards that Apply to Simplified Cases of Concentrations of Undertakings (the Interim Provisions). Initially published for public comment in draft in April of last year, the Interim Provisions came into force on 12 February. Bar minor amendments, the adopted text of the Interim Provisions is identical to the 2013 draft and the final rules remain a pared down version of MOFCOM's initial draft Interim Provisions on the Classification of Concentrations of Undertakings (Draft Classification Provisions), published in May of 2012. In particular, the Interim Provisions clarify the standards MOFCOM will use to distinguish simple cases from other cases meriting a more detailed review, and in that respect the rules draw heavily on the European Commission's 2005 Notice on a simplified procedure. That said, the Interim Provisions are a "work-in-progress" as they do not stipulate a simplified procedure as such – they clarify what a simple case is but they do not provide a framework for the notification and assessment of simple cases. It is understood that procedural regulations of this kind will be introduced by MOFCOM at a later stage.
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