The Federal Trade Commission on Monday ordered nine large U.S. companies, including Walmart, Amazon and Procter & Gamble, to provide detailed information about their operations, in a bid to unravel the causes of the supply chain disruptions that are clouding the economic recovery, reported the The Washington Post.
The commission order, approved by a 4-0 vote, came as President Biden met at the White House with corporate chieftains in the latest display of presidential concern over supply chain snarls. The president was scheduled to speak after the meeting with the chief executives of companies such as Food Lion, Mattel and Best Buy. But the White House rescheduled his comments for Wednesday, saying the president wanted to spend more time with the CEOs.
The White House and some independent analysts have blamed a lack of competition throughout the supply chain for many of the current problems, which are fueling inflation and depressing the president’s public approval ratings. Biden this summer issued an executive order calling for regulators to crack down on consolidation in the ocean shipping and freight rail industries as part of a broader competition initiative.
“We’ve had an incredible amount of consolidation in the supply chain. … That’s why it’s been unable to withstand the kind of shock we’ve seen with the pandemic,” said Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute. “We are now learning the hard way what 40 years of unbridled consolidation and lax merger enforcement mean.”