“A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love,” opined Marilyn Monroe. For many Chinese ‘kissing-without-loving’ well describes the short romance between Rio Tinto and its jilted suitor Chinalco. But like many who are spurned, an initial instinct is revenge, especially when a newcomer appears on the scene. In this case, the new suitor is BHP Billiton which is striking a deal with Rio to create a joint venture in iron ore. Now Beijing has announced that their efforts could be foiled by recently created anti-trust laws. “If you look at the anti-monopoly law of China, you will find that the joint venture falls within the jurisdiction of our law,” said a Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson this week. Anti-trust rules in America and the EU have killed international mergers in the past. Could this be the first time China’s own legislation wrecks a proposed deal? If so, it will mark a new stage in the country’s growing clout.
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