Vitamin-C verdict may spell trouble ahead for multinational Chinese companies

On 14 March, a federal jury in New York found Chinese vitamin-C manufacturer Hebei Welcome Pharmaceutical Co and its parent, North China Pharmaceutical Group Corp, liable for agreeing with other Chinese manufacturers to fix prices in the vitamin-C market.

The jury awarded $54.1m (£35m) in damages to the plaintiffs — purchasers including US food and drink companies, packagers, wholesalers and distributors — an amount that was then trebled by the presiding judge to an award of $162.3m in accordance with federal antitrust laws. Three other Chinese manufacturers involved in the conspiracy reached settlements with the plaintiffs prior to the announcement of the verdict…

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