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DOJ Move to Block Big Sugar Merger Shows How to Use Anti-Monopoly Law to Attack Supply Chain Chokepoints and Dangerous Inflation

Garland and Kanter cite need to prevent further consolidation as major factor in merger decision.
WASHINGTON -

This morning the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department moved to block United States Sugar Corporation’s attempt to buy its direct competitor Imperial Sugar.

In response to that move, The Open Markets Institute’s Executive Director Barry Lynn released the following statement:

“Today the Justice Department proved it understands the core problem in America’s wide-ranging and highly-dangerous supply chain crisis and the recent surge in inflation – which is the concentration of monopoly power and control over key industrial chokepoints. In blocking the combination of two giant sugar refiners, the DOJ made clear it was taking into account the deal’s potential to worsen ’global supply chain’ disruptions and the public’s interest in ensuring the 'resiliency’ of the supply of this vital product.

“Today’s action is just the beginning. It helps establish a blueprint for using anti-monopoly law and policy to break many of the other chokepoints that threaten the security and the prosperity of the American people. These same arguments can now be used to begin to address the dangerous concentrations of power and control over semiconductors, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and other essential goods and services of our modern society.

“And let’s be clear – today’s move will also deliver lower prices. For four decades, U.S. competition policy has been based on the Orwellian idea that monopolists deliver lower prices. That outrageous lie has resulted in the concentration of vast wealth and power in the hands of the few. Today’s action returns simple common sense to anti-monopoly law and policy.” 

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The Open Markets Institute works to address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today’s unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power. By combining policy, legal, and market structure expertise with sophisticated communications and outreach efforts, Open Markets seeks not only to hold today’s monopolies accountable for abuse of power, but to rebuild an economic system where progress is easier to achieve, because power is far more widely and equitably distributed

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