MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – China accused Japanese auto makers of price fixing and charged them with a record fine for violating the country’s antitrust laws, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Some 12 companies underwent an audit by the NDRC, including two of Japan's largest bearings and mechanical parts producers – Tokyo-based NSK and Osaka-based NTN Corporation, and electric wire manufacturers Sumitomo Electric Industries and Yazaki.
The total fines amounted to 1.24 billion yuan ($200 million), according to Bloomberg.
The affected companies all claimed they had complied with Chinese laws. Sumitomo Electric, which received the heaviest fine of 290.4 million yuan ($47 million), said the NDRC’s decision was based on its 2009 conduct.
"In June 2010, however, Sumitomo Electric strengthened its compliance with competition laws on a group-wide basis, through measures such as instituting a competition law compliance program and mobilizing specialized internal organizations. Compliance with competition laws remains the highest priority item for our business, and we will strive to engage in business activities in a fair manner," the company said in a statement.
NSK, which was ordered to pay a fine of 174.92 million yuan ($28.5 million) "for contraventions of the Anti-Monopoly Law of China in connection with sales of bearings in China," had been "fully cooperating with the National Development and Reform Commission's investigation into sales of bearings in China," the company said in a statement on its website.
The NDRC also accused Denso, Aisan Industry, Hitachi Automotive Systems, Mitsubishi Electric, Mitsuba, Furukawa Electric, Nachi-Fujikoshi and Jtekt corporations of price fixing.
Japan has one of the world's largest automotive industries. According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, automotive shipments accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total value of Japan's machinery shipments and totaled 50.3 trillion yen ($487 billion) in 2012.