‘Small Business Rising’ Coalition Targets Amazon’s Monopoly Power

Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos provides the keynote address at the Air Force Association's Annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference in Oxen Hill, MD, on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

According to a recent report, merchant groups representing thousands of small businesses are forming a national coalition called “Small Business Rising” to campaign for stricter antitrust laws in an effort to force e-commerce giant Amazon to spin off some of its business lines and stop selling its own products in competition with other brands and sellers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of merchants are forming a national coalition to campaign for stricter antitrust laws to force Amazon to spin off some of its business lines. The effort is being launched by trade groups representing smaller hardware stores, office suppliers, booksellers, grocers, and others on Tuesday.

Business groups from 12 cities are also joining the coalition, according to organizers. Merchants reportedly plan to push their congressional representatives for stricter antitrust laws and tougher enforcement of existing laws.

The groups collectively represent thousands of businesses and want federal legislation that would prevent the owner of a dominant online marketplace such as Amazon from selling its own products in competition with other sellers. This policy would effectively separate Amazon’s retail product business from its online marketplace entirely.

Members of the House Antitrust Subcommittee are reportedly considering legislation similar to these guidelines already as they consider changes to U.S. antitrust law, but no bill has been formally introduced.

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement that the company’s critics “are suggesting misguided interventions in the free market that would kill off independent retailers and punish consumers by forcing small businesses out of popular online stores, raising prices, and reducing consumer choice and convenience.”

The spokesperson added: “Amazon and third-party sellers complement each other, and sellers having the opportunity to sell right alongside a retailer’s products is the very competition that most benefits consumers and has made the marketplace model so successful for third-party sellers.”

The newly formed coalition has been dubbed Small Business Rising and includes the National Grocers Association, the American Booksellers Association, and the Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding. The group aims to capitalize on local business owners’ connections to their hometowns by meeting with members of Congress and staff, seeking coverage in media, and other efforts.

Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, commented: “Those stories are powerful and are motivating for lawmakers. It’s a real business that is really going to go under with a real community that is going to suffer as a result.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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