Biden to sign executive order that aims to rein in big business

President Joe Biden on Friday afternoon is slated to sign an executive order that seeks to rein in the power of big business, with the much-anticipated measure targeting agriculture, banking, tech, transportation and other sectors.

The extensive order’s provisions include one that announces a policy of greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platform, and another that aims to ensure vigorous enforcement against ocean shippers that levy exorbitant charges on U.S. exporters, according to a White House fact sheet.

One other provision seeks to limit equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to repair the equipment, the White House said. Additional provisions aim to ban or limit noncompete agreements, call on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously, and encourage the issuance of rules allowing customers to download their banking data and take it with them.

Plus, the FTC will be encouraged to set up rules for Big Tech on surveillance and the accumulation of Americans’ personal data, as well as other rules to protect small businesses from unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces, according to the White House.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission will be prodded to restore net neutrality, which refers to preventing internet service providers from discriminating against certain content that’s transmitted over their networks. And the FCC will be encouraged to limit ISPs’ early termination fees and revive development of a “Broadband Nutrition Label” that improves price transparency.

Biden is due to give a speech and sign the executive order at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The president is “taking decisive action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses,” the White House said, adding that the order “includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.”

The order aimed at big business has been expected since last week. A Wall Street Journal report on Thursday revealed that the order would take on consolidation and perceived anticompetitive pricing in the railroad and ocean shipping industries — driving such stocks lower in Thursday’s session.

U.S. stocks



traded mostly higher Friday following a broad selloff in the prior session that was blamed on worries about the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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