FTC Charges Path Forward to Combat Anticompetitive Behavior Across Markets
Washington, D.C. – After the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-1 to issue a new policy statement to reinvigorate and bring cases under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which designates the Commission to distinguish between “unfair methods of competition,” the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.
“This is an important policy change that will empower the agency to better combat anticompetitive behavior across all markets,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “As a result, the FTC will have renewed authority to outlaw predatory pricing, unfair supplier rebates, and other abusive monopolistic tactics with sharp focus. Chair Khan isn’t just realigning the agency with its congressional mandate after years of retreat, but charging a path toward a new era of refined antitrust enforcement that prioritizes working families and small businesses.”
Section 5 of the FTC Act of 1914 originally charged the Federal Trade Commission with using its expertise to distinguish between “unfair” and “fair” methods of competition. As opposed to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s role, which is focused on enforcement of the law, the FTC was tasked by Congress to clarify and interpret the rules of the road for anticompetitive behavior. However, beginning in the 1980s, antitrust enforcers strayed from this original mission, culminating in a 2015 policy statement where the Commission announced it would not bring cases under Section 5 unless they met a much narrower framework. One of Chair Khan’s first actions as head of the FTC was to overturn this 2015 policy statement, with promises for additional policy statements in the future.
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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.