President Joe Biden on Friday afternoon signed an executive order that seeks to rein in the power of big business, with the much-anticipated measure targeting agriculture, banking, tech, transportation and other sectors.

“I’m a proud capitalist,” Biden said in a speech at the White House before putting pen to paper.

“But let me be very clear, capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation. Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want — and treat you however they want.”

The extensive order’s provisions include one that announces a policy of greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms, and another that aims to ensure vigorous enforcement against ocean shippers that levy exorbitant charges on U.S. exporters, according to a White House fact sheet.

One other provision seeks to limit equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to repair the equipment, the White House said. Additional provisions aim to ban or limit noncompete agreements, call on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously, and encourage the issuance of rules allowing customers to download their banking data and take it with them.

Read more: These 7 markets will be the target of Biden’s new anti-monopoly executive order

Plus, the FTC will be encouraged to set up rules for Big Tech on surveillance and the accumulation of Americans’ personal data, as well as other rules to protect small businesses from unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces, according to the White House.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission will be prodded to restore net neutrality, which refers to preventing internet service providers from discriminating against certain content that’s transmitted over their networks. And the FCC will be encouraged to limit ISPs’ early termination fees and revive development of a “Broadband Nutrition Label” that improves price transparency.

From the archives (April 2021): All of President Biden’s key executive orders — in one chart

The president is “taking decisive action to reduce the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses,” the White House said, adding that the order “includes 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.”

The order aimed at big business has been expected since last week. A Wall Street Journal report on Thursday revealed that the order would take on consolidation and perceived anti-competitive pricing in the railroad and ocean shipping industries — driving such stocks lower in Thursday’s session.

Groups affiliated with targeted industries, such as the Bank Policy Institute, pushed back on Friday.

“By any analysis, banking is among the most competitive, least concentrated industries in America, as anyone who has shopped for a credit card, mortgage or deposit account knows. Moreover, banks continue to lose business to unregulated FinTechs or government-sponsored enterprises, whose presence in the market current DOJ guidelines inexplicably ignore in assessing market competition,” BPI President and CEO Greg Baer said in a statement.

U.S. stocks



traded higher Friday following a broad selloff in the prior session that was blamed on worries about the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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