A new coalition of small business groups on Tuesday launched a campaign to enforce US military rights, especially demanding the separation of online commerce titan Amazon.
The Small Business Growth Group includes the American Booksellers Association, the National Grocers Association and many local and regional business associations.
The federation’s website said its aim was to “stop technological dictatorship, like Amazon, from capturing online markets by destroying them and controlling them.”
The move comes at a time when growing tensions are high for large tech firms that own large sectors of the economy and see their influence grow during the epidemic.
The new small business group said it supported the conclusion of a recent report by the US church highlighting the power of technology forums and called for stronger law enforcement and new laws to make it easier to eliminate other firms.
By restoring competitive markets, we can unleash the power of Americans to grow successful businesses and build a prosperous, equitable and innovative economy, “the group said.
Named Amazon specifically, it says “the impact of online marketing is one of the biggest threats to private businesses.”
The group said the conference investigation “found that Amazon used its power to keep gates on online shopping malls to impose exorbitant amounts of money, search for keywords and extract important information from independent manufacturers and retailers relying on its platform.
Amazon has backed the claim that it restricts competition, disputing a statement that “self-employed critics are suppressing improper access to the free market that could kill private sellers and punish consumers.”
The company’s statement said “Amazon enabled small and medium enterprises to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in sales over the past year, and their sales are growing much faster than Amazon’s first-class sales.”
‘It’s not a level playing field’
Danny Caine, owner of the private Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas, said Amazon “writes the rules of the game, and they play the game at the same time.”
Caine supports President Joe Biden’s management efforts to revitalize tech titans, and hopes the law can find double support.
“Of course, no party really likes to be alone in technology. So I see an opportunity there,” Caine told AFP.
According to Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, five years ago Amazon accounted for 19 percent of retailers’ revenues – a total of now 30 percent.
“This is a very positive increase in sales,” Mitchell said.
According to group statistics most retailers are unable to make enough profit to stay on Amazon for more than five years.
With a large number of online sales cars starting in Amazon, “they are starting to choose the winners and losers,” he said.
“It is therefore very important that we have laws that require e-commerce platforms to be neutral and equitable to most businesses that rely on that infrastructure.”
Gina Schaefer, who owns 13 hardware stores in a large Washington DC area, is upset that when it comes to online shopping, “it’s not a good place to play.”
Amazon allowed the last two decades to be strong and resilient, starting with the tax breaks they were given, “he told AFP.
Amazon also has access to “incoming data rates.”
He fears that by violating government regulations, Amazon may continue to gain power “because it is not competitive” and has access to “unlimited resources.”