The Federal Trade Commission has asked retailers and consumer goods groups in the United States, including Amazon and Walmart, to provide insight into their supply chains as it investigates bottlenecks and prices high rates that plague the economy.
The move announced Monday by the FTC, the US competition watchdog, will put pressure on US companies to defend their prices and business practices and take further steps to reduce backlogs ahead of the buying season holidays – a growing concern for the Biden administration.
“Supply chain disruptions are disrupting the supply and delivery of a wide range of goods, from computer chips and drugs to meat and timber,” said Lina Khan, President of the FTC, in a statement. communicated.
“I hope the new FTC. . . The study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have aggravated these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects, ”she added.
The FTC is seeking information from nine companies, including grocery chain Kroger, consumer goods company Procter & Gamble, meat producer Tyson Foods and food company Kraft Heinz, as well as several wholesalers.
The announcement of the investigation came as President Joe Biden met with a group of top executives at the White House to stress the importance of a well-functioning supply chain during the holiday season.
Even though the U.S. economy has been booming since Biden came to power, public perception of the recovery and how the administration handled it has been affected by soaring prices and, in some cases, delays and difficulties in obtaining products.
The FTC investigation is likely to increase tensions between U.S. businesses and the Biden administration, as it involves a vast demand for information and suggests that corporate practices may be contributing to the backlog.
The FTC said it would investigate whether supply chain disruptions cause “specific bottlenecks, shortages, anti-competitive practices or contribute to rising consumer prices.”
Biden was scheduled to deliver supply chain remarks on Monday, which were then delayed until Wednesday. Earlier this month, the FTC also launched an investigation into high oil prices as the Biden administration sought to pressure oil companies to ease inflationary pressures in their industry.
Large retailers have expressed confidence that their efforts to bring goods into the country earlier than usual will help them meet strong consumer demand, which Matthew Shay, chief executive of National Retail said. Federation, has been “squeezed” by historic levels of fiscal stimulus.
“Overall, consumers are in a very good position; they have $ 4 billion in savings, they shop, sales are up sharply this year [and] we’re expecting a great holiday season, ”Shay told CNN on Friday. “Because retailers have an inventory in place [consumers] will find the gifts they have on their lists.
Early data covering the Thanksgiving long weekend suggests in-store spending has risen sharply from depressed levels in last year’s pandemic, but online spending has been lower than analysts’ expectations.