AIB Voices Concern Over Amazon’s Proposed Acquisition of Whole Foods, Requests Hearing

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Earlier this month, AIB wrote to four leading members of Congress in order to voice concerns over how Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods would impact independent businesses.

In its letter, AIB explained how Amazon’s growing market power is threatening the economic vitality of tens of thousands of independent businesses across the country, and how buying Whole Foods would allow Amazon to expand its dominance.

“Markets work best when they’re diverse and competitive,” AIB wrote. “That’s what we know from academic research and from real world experience. When markets have a broad and varied range of businesses, they serve consumers and workers, foster innovation, and provide myriad benefits for communities. Now that diversity is under threat… The rise of Amazon and its platform power is quickly becoming the most urgent economic and competitive issue of our time.”

AIB went on to detail concerns about Amazon, including how companies of all sizes now have to rely on Amazon’s infrastructure to reach the market, how Amazon exploits its dual role as both a platform and a retailer to undermine other businesses, and how Amazon uses that dual power to pressure suppliers in ways that impede competition.

The letter continued:

“Amazon’s bid to buy Whole Foods would only expand the company’s control of commerce, and it would give Amazon new assets that it can leverage to increase its power to harm competition in online shopping. These include physical stores to add to its package delivery logistics network; a significant new source of customer data; and a major beachhead in the large and very pivotal grocery category.

Small businesses are not only vital to the economy’s dynamism and productivity. They are also integral to the health of communities and our economic liberty as Americans.”

The letter closed by calling on the four members of Congress — Rep. Tom Marino and Rep. David Cicilline, the chair and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law; and Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the chair and ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights — to schedule hearings to look into this critical issue.