President Biden Signs New Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy

By: Suzanne Beall

On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.  The order affirmed the Administration’s aggressive approach in enforcing the nation’s antitrust laws and in reducing the harmful impacts of monopolies within certain industries, namely the Internet platform, healthcare, repair and agricultural industries.

The Executive Order establishes a new White House Competition Council within the Executive Office of the President, which will coordinate agency efforts, identify and advance additional administrative actions the Administration could take beyond the policies announced on July 9th, and serve as a convening body for Council members to deliberate and direct further agency action. 

Of interest to the franchising sector include several orders within Section 5 encouraging the Attorney General and the FTC Chair to review the horizontal and vertical merger guidelines for necessary revisions; consider revising the Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals of October 2016; and address agreements that may unduly limit workers’ abilities to change jobs and curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses and other clauses that may unfairly limit worker mobility. 

Section 5(v) also directs the Office of Economic Policy within the Treasury Department to consult with the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the FTC Chair and submit a report on the effects of lack of competition in labor markets within 180 days.