US President Joe Biden will today sign an executive order aimed at clamping down on anti-competitive behaviour in Big Tech and across a host of other sectors.
In a sweeping set of reforms, the president will call on more than a dozen agencies to undertake 72 initiatives aimed at promoting competition across the US economy.
The order targets corporate monopolies across a broad range of industries and specifically directs antitrust authorities to focus enforcement efforts on the labour, healthcare, technology and agriculture sectors.
Targeting Big Tech, Biden will direct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue rules to address competition concerns from major tech firms and limit “killer acquisitions” where large internet platforms acquire potential competitors.
It also pushes the agency to establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.
“Inadequate competition holds back economic growth and innovation,” a White House fact sheet stated.
It cited research from the Economic Innovation Group that showed new business formation in the US has fallen nearly 50 per cent since the 1970s as large companies crowd out competition.
The White House also cited figures from the American Economic Liberties Project — an influential Washington-based anti-monopoly group — and said lower wages caused by lack of competition are now estimated to cost the median American household $5,000 per year.
Among the other measures outlined in the order is a direction to the FTC and Department of Justice to carefully review mergers that are leaving fewer options for small businesses and direct the agencies to enforce antitrust laws vigorously and challenge prior bad mergers.
The order also limits non-compete agreements that allow people to change jobs.
Biden will also establish a White House Competition Council, led by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress on finalising the initiatives in the order.