By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
President Biden issued a sweeping Executive Order directing the federal government to increase antitrust enforcement and regulation. The order includes a directive encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs.”
The FTC recently issued a “Nixing the Fix” report to Congress that identifies anti-competitive repair restrictions employed by manufacturers for a wide-range of products from automobiles and mobile phones to printers and computers. SEMA and other aftermarket organizations have praised the report and are supporting FTC efforts to consider ways to implement report recommendations.
“Competition keeps the economy moving and keeps it growing. Fair competition is why capitalism has been the world’s greatest force for prosperity and growth,” said President Biden as he signed the Executive Order. “Let me be very clear, capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation.”
The order includes 72 actions and recommendations that involve more than a dozen federal agencies with jurisdiction over antitrust, corporate mergers and competition laws. The broad scope of the order covers high-tech industries, healthcare, agriculture and manufacturing, and is intended to promote competitive markets and limit large corporate dominance and consolidation that could lead to higher prices and fewer product choices. A wide variety of products and services could be impacted—from protecting the consumer’s right to independently maintain, repair and modify their motor vehicle to reducing airline-baggage fees and hearing aid costs. The FTC has also been encouraged to ban or limit non-compete agreements and to ban unnecessary occupational licensing restrictions.
The Executive Order does not itself impose new requirements. Rather, it directs and challenges federal government agencies to pursue regulatory and policy initiatives—a process that could take months or years to implement. Regulatory actions would be subject to public comment and judicial review.
For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at firstname.lastname@example.org.