Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy
July 09, 2021
• Presidential Actions
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
A fair, open, and competitive marketplace has long been a cornerstone of the American economy, while excessive market concentration threatens basic economic liberties, democratic accountability, and the welfare of workers, farmers, small businesses, startups, and consumers.
The American promise of a broad and sustained prosperity depends on an open and competitive economy. For workers, a competitive marketplace creates more high-quality jobs and the economic freedom to switch jobs or negotiate a higher wage. For small businesses and farmers, it creates more choices among suppliers and major buyers, leading to more take-home income, which they can reinvest in their enterprises. For entrepreneurs, it provides space to experiment, innovate, and pursue the new ideas that have for centuries powered the American economy and improved our quality of life. And for consumers, it means more choices, better service, and lower prices.
Robust competition is critical to preserving America’s role as the world’s leading economy.
Yet over the last several decades, as industries have consolidated, competition has weakened in too many markets, denying Americans the benefits of an open economy and widening racial, income, and wealth inequality. Federal Government inaction has contributed to these problems, with workers, farmers, small businesses, and consumers paying the price.
Consolidation has increased the power of corporate employers, making it harder for workers to bargain for higher wages and better work conditions. Powerful companies require workers to sign non-compete agreements that restrict their ability to change jobs. And, while many occupational licenses are critical to increasing wages for workers and especially workers of color, some overly restrictive occupational licensing requirements can impede workers’ ability to find jobs and to move between States.
Consolidation in the agricultural industry is making it too hard for small family farms to survive. Farmers are squeezed between concentrated market power in the agricultural input industries — seed, fertilizer, feed, and equipment suppliers — and concentrated market power in the channels for selling agricultural products. As a result, farmers’ share of the value of their agricultural products has decreased, and poultry farmers, hog farmers, cattle ranchers, and other agricultural workers struggle to retain autonomy and to make sustainable returns.
(i) The Secretary of Agriculture shall:
(v) to help ensure that the intellectual property system, while incentivizing innovation, does not also unnecessarily reduce competition in seed and other input markets beyond that reasonably contemplated by the Patent Act (see 35 U.S.C. 100 et seq. and 7 U.S.C. 2321 et seq.), in consultation with the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, submit a report to the Chair of the White House Competition Council, enumerating and describing any relevant concerns of the Department of Agriculture and strategies for addressing those concerns across intellectual property, antitrust, and other relevant laws.
Editor's Note: The Texas Seed Trade Association will be forwarding public comment in advance of the impending deadline. We sincerely hope you and the company you represent will do the same. If you desire assistance with a letter please contact the association office and we'll be happy to help.
Please read the entire executive order via the clickable link above. It provides more detail than we can include here. The above is a condensed version of the order and the additional details are important. In many places you will find "the agency shall consider (additional) rule-making” meaning more federal regulation of your business.
The order is devisive and seems partially intended to facilitate unfairness claims between larger, multi-national, seed companies and smaller, regional or family-owned, seed companies. Our letter will communicate how respect for intellectual property benefits all seed companies and hence farmers.
Please let us know if you have input or strong feelings one way or another concerning this decree. We have one opportunity to make our feelings known and we need to express our opinions.
This executive order contains many subject matter in addition to seed, fertilizer, and retail ag supply. Broadband communication, telecommunications, freight rail, passenger air travel, boutique distilleries, hearing aids, and the list goes on, and on. It includes the following agencies and their leadership:
(i) the Secretary of the Treasury;
(ii) the Secretary of Defense;
(iii) the Attorney General;
(iv) the Secretary of Agriculture;
(v) the Secretary of Commerce;
(vi) the Secretary of Labor;
(vii) the Secretary of Health and Human Services;
(viii) the Secretary of Transportation;
(ix) the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; and
(x) the heads of such other agencies and offices as the Chair may from time to time invite to participate.