Tens of thousands of owners of U.S. Small and medium-sized companies have formed an alliance against Amazon e-commerce to counter what they called its anti-competitive practices, and in several press releases accused the giant of stifling entrepreneurs and small businesses, and demanded legislation that would discourage tech giants.
The small Business Rising Coalition has called on the US administration to reconsider e-commerce rules and limit Amazon’s control of markets.
“Amazon’s dominance of e-commerce is one of the main threats facing independent businesses,”the alliance-which includes about 20 professional unions (such as grocers and bookstores) representing about 60,000 U.S. companies-said in a statement.
He called on the US administration to curb the expansion of the technology and retail giant, and even split it into parts to scale it.
“It is time for entrepreneurs from every side of the country, from every background and from every industry to demand impartiality, and we are building one new voice that speaks directly to lawmakers,”said a coalition statement seen by Riyada. The alliance represents entrepreneurs and small businesses who unite for one goal. The startup group said it held a meeting on February 22 in which it explained how Amazon, through its growing dominance, is harming independent and small businesses and what Congress needs to do to rein in the “monopoly.”
The meeting was attended by Rep. David cicchellini, who chairs the House antitrust committee. Active participants include associations such as the Booksellers Association and the American Grocers Association. For example, a small bookstore owner named Lawrence Cain, a grocery store owner from Alabama and an office materials dealer from Washington, D.C., all agreed that Amazon was “stifling their business.”
“The pandemic has highlighted the amount of focus in our markets with a vision of companies like Amazon doubling their profits at the same time as America’s small businesses were struggling to survive,”Allison Hill, president of the American Booksellers Association, said in a statement seen by Riyada-Al Jazeera.
“We are paying to break monopolies,”said the head of American Booksellers.
These complaints are not new, but the nascent coalition is likely to be heard more than a year after the pandemic crisis that dramatically boosted Amazon’s activity, and at a time when public opinion and with them MPs seem to be shifting in favor of small businesses.
The Alliance wants to better enforce antitrust laws, or even amend them so that they do not focus primarily on the issue of prices but take into account other implications of monopolies, such as the impact on communities, especially those deprived of local shops, or employees ‘ rights and working conditions.
“Neither party (Democrat and Republican) likes the monopolies exercised by big tech groups,” says Danny Cain, owner of a bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas-in an interview with AFP. This support from both sides of political life is a real opportunity.”
Cain criticizes the dominance of giant groups, saying “they write the rules of the game and play them too.”
The coalition has praised the positive signals from President Joe Biden, in particular by appointing legal expert Lina Khan, known for her criticism of Gaffa technology giants (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) to the FTC. The president also asked Tim Wu, a proponent of tightening antitrust laws, to join the National Economic Council (NEC).
Federal authorities have long been investigating the dominance of these giant groups over entire economic sectors. Last October, a working group in the House of Representatives published a dossier accusing Gaffa of exploiting its dominant position.
The small business Rising Coalition agreed with the abstracts of parliamentary work which showed that Amazon ” demands huge commissions, imposes suffocating conditions and pulls valuable data from independent manufacturers and merchants to use on its platform.”
However, sudden changes in the platform’s rules and algorithms, and high commissions, make it very difficult, even impossible, for a company to thrive through Amazon, according to Stacy Mitchell, co-director of an NGO that advocates for communities and local organizations (Institute for localserve reliance).
“Hold out a few years”
“Five years ago, Amazon was deducting an average of 19% of merchants ‘revenue,”