Nov 29, 2021 - Economy

FTC launches supply chain disruption study

Photo illustration of Lina Khan with the Capitol Building, a gavel and binary code.

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it is launching a study into supply chain disruptions across the country.

Why it matters: As FTC Chair, Lina M. Khan is fiercely focused on competition issues and how they impact consumers. Issuing this inquiry makes it clear she is seeking to illuminate how competition may factor into the supply chain.

What's happening: The FTC is sending inquiries to Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Co., Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods and Kraft Heinz.

  • The inquiries, due 45 days from the date received, ask the companies to give information on factors disrupting the ability to ship products, the impact on prices, which suppliers are most affected, what is being done to alleviate disruptions and other issues.
  • The FTC is using Section 6(b) of the FTC Act, which allows the agency to conduct studies and gather information about business practices without a specific law enforcement purpose.
  • The move comes as supply chain disruptions get attention from the Biden White House and retailers struggle to fulfill orders ahead of the holiday season due to global strains and shortages of workers.

What they're saying: "I am hopeful the FTC’s new 6(b) study will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened these disruptions or led to asymmetric effects," Khan said in a release.

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