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Industry Leaders and Consumer Advocates Support Bipartisan Antitrust Legislation

June 23, 2021
Press Release

Internet Accountability Project

“For too many years, our federal law-enforcement agencies simply ignored our century-old antitrust laws. So did Congress. This antitrust amnesty is a key reason Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple illegally became too big and too powerful. These trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolists abuse their market power to censor views with which they disagree, cancel conservatives, and crush small businesses.

Just in the last year, Big Tech has de-platformed a sitting President of the United States (while permitting Iran’s leader to tweet out calls for Israel’s destruction), censored one of America’s oldest newspapers to help a pro-Big Tech candidate win the presidency, silenced scientists and doctors for their disapproved but ultimately correct views on Covid treatments and lockdowns, and colluded to kill a startup competitor to another Big Tech monopolist.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced six bipartisan bills to rein in Big Tech’s out-of-control market power. Rep. Buck is a principled conservative warrior and has served as the tip of the spear fighting back against Big Tech’s war on conservatives, small businesses, and the competitive market.

We also applaud Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Chip Roy (R-TX), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Burgess Owens (R-UT), and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) for joining Rep. Buck in his effort.

Unfortunately, several Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee failed to join their courageous colleagues in this effort. What is their reasoning for refusing to join a single bipartisan bill to rein in Big Tech? The time for talking is over. Now’s the time for House Republicans to choose: Will they support or oppose trillion-dollar Big Tech monopolists who are canceling conservatives and crushing small businesses?” [Statement, 6/11/21]

 

The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

“We applaud the bipartisan work of the Antitrust Subcommittee and urge members on both sides of the aisle to work together to hold unregulated monopolies accountable. For many small- and medium-sized businesses, Amazon is the only game in town. The legislation before the committee addresses unfair acts by dominant platforms like Amazon that ultimately harm consumers and millions of third-party sellers and small businesses.” [Statement, 6/22/21]

“Over the past two years, we heard concerns from an increasing number of small businesses that depend upon Amazon for access to markets, including NAW members. Over 60% of Americans start their search on Amazon when they want to buy something online. In order for small- and medium-sized businesses to compete and reach online consumers, they have little alternative but to sell on Amazon’s site. For many, Amazon is the only game in town,” said Blake Adami, NAW Vice President of Government Relations.

The Subcommittee’s bills address unfair acts by dominant e-commerce platforms like Amazon that undermine fair competition by leveraging their controlling position to the detriment of consumers and third-party suppliers, including millions of small businesses. Dominant platforms reap enormous and unfair advantages by using the third parties’ proprietary information (such as products sold and prices, quantities, and customer identities) to sell the platform’s own products. The Subcommittee found that by owning and managing the platform, including setting its rules and prices, Amazon plays both sides to advantage its own products over those of the platform’s third-party sellers.

Among the important provisions is prohibiting the dominant platform from using seller data and engaging in conflicts of interest. The bills seek to restore fair competition to the Business to Consumer (B2C) market and the Business-to-Business (B2B) market, where many NAW members compete. Dominant provider control and abuse is causing real harm to the highly competitive B2B system.

NAW applauds the bipartisan work of Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline, Ranking Member Buck, Members of the Judiciary Committee, and staff to promote free and fair competition. We look forward to continuing to work together on this important effort. [Statement, 6/15/21]

 

The National Grocers Association

On behalf of the National Grocers Association (NGA), we applaud the Committee’s consideration of bipartisan legislation to address monopoly power in Big Tech. While these bills are focused on the technology marketplace, they touch on the biggest issues NGA’s members face in the grocery industry: consolidation, buyer power, and economic discrimination.

NGA is the national trade association representing independent community grocers and wholesalers in every Congressional district and state. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is responsible for generating $255 billion to the U.S. economy, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages, and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, as well as manufacturers and service suppliers.

For decades, NGA members have witnessed the same troubling behavior in the grocery sector that the Antitrust Subcommittee exposed in Big Tech. In our industry, a small handful of companies have amassed incredible economic power over their rivals and their suppliers. This leverage exists because dominant food retailers are critical “gatekeepers” between suppliers and consumers dictating discriminatory terms and conditions to suppliers, including by demanding more favorable pricing and price terms, more favorable supply, and access to exclusive products. The economic power amassed by dominant retail companies and the Big Tech giants are possible due to lax antitrust enforcement and the inability of existing laws to police anticompetitive conduct in the modern economy. We believe it is time for Congress to act.

We hope this legislative effort is just the start of Congress’ efforts to rein in monopoly power as NGA continues to push for scrutiny of food retail power buyers. Antitrust enforcement and reform would mean more support for local economies and small and independent businesses, more innovation across sectors, and more choices for consumers of all income levels.

NGA supports the bipartisan push to reinvigorate the antitrust laws for the first time in decades. We urge all Judiciary Committee members to consider the importance of a level playing field for independent businesses, especially at a time when small businesses have been decimated by the pandemic. [Letter, 6/22/21]

 

Spotify

“Gatekeeper platforms’ anticompetitive practices have gone unchecked for too long, stifling competition and threatening innovation. The introduction of The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is an important step in addressing anti-competitive conduct in the App Store ecosystem, and a clear sign that momentum has shifted as the world is waking up to the need to demand fair competition in the App economy. Spotify commends this bipartisan effort to ensure true consumer choice and a level playing field for all developers.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

 

The Coalition for App Fairness

“We applaud Representatives Cicilline and Buck for their commitment to fair markets and consumers. This bipartisan legislation is an important step as momentum builds to hold platforms accountable for their anticompetitive behavior. We look forward to working with leaders in both parties to ensure reform efforts directly and fully address the monopolistic practices of app store providers and create a fair digital marketplace for American businesses and consumers.” [Statement, 6/11/21]

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“The app marketplace is now larger and more important than ever - creating jobs and providing new technologies. But as this digital marketplace grows, so does the power of app store gatekeepers, such as Apple, and the need for fair competition. We believe the proposed bipartisan H.R. 3816, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, would be an important step toward a fair marketplace for apps that will benefit consumers through greater competition, choice, and innovation. 

Under the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, consumers would have more options on their smartphones and tablets to choose various services and features that best meet their needs and lifestyles. It would not take away or prevent current services already provided by tech companies, but it would encourage lower prices for existing services through greater competition. 

H.R. 3816 would only apply to the largest and most dominant technology companies and would create greater access to services and products for American consumers. Additionally, smaller companies would have the opportunity to reach new users, helping more small businesses create jobs across the country.

Americans support free enterprise, but we also know that competition must be fair. When a single company is large enough to set the rules and standards for an entire industry, and abuses that power to advance its own interests at the expense of consumers, Congress has an obligation to act. We hope Congress will take up the American Innovation and Choice Online Act as soon as possible.” [Statement, 6/22/21]

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