The move comes amid growing backlash against big tech companies that have dominated key economic sectors and have seen their influence grow during the pandemic.

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A new coalition of small business groups on Tuesday launched a campaign for tighter enforcement of antitrust laws in the United States, specifically calling for the disbandment of the e-commerce titan Amazon.

The Small Business Rising group includes the American Booksellers Association, the National Grocers Association, and a number of local and regional business organizations.

The coalition’s website said its aim was “to prevent technology monopolies, such as Amazon, from taking over the online market by dismantling and regulating them.”

The move comes amid growing backlash against big tech companies that have dominated key economic sectors and have seen their influence grow during the pandemic.

The new small business group has said it supports the findings of a recent US Congressional report highlighting the power of technology platforms and calling for stricter enforcement of antitrust laws and new legislation to make it easier to dismantle some companies.

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“By restoring competitive markets, we can unleash the potential of Americans to develop successful businesses and build a more prosperous, equitable and innovative economy,” the group said.

He specifically named Amazon, saying that “the company’s grip on e-commerce is one of the biggest threats independent businesses face.”

The group said the congressional investigation “found that Amazon had exploited its gatekeeper power over online shopping traffic to impose exorbitant fees, demand oppressive terms, and extract valuable data from independent manufacturers and retailers who depend on its platform. “

Amazon rebuffed the claim it was stifling competition, saying in a statement that “selfish critics push misguided free market interventions that would kill independent retailers and punish consumers.”

A statement from the company said that “Amazon enabled small and medium-sized businesses to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in sales last year, and their sales are growing much faster than Amazon’s owner sales.”

“Not an equal footing”

Danny Caine, owner of the independent Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas, said Amazon “wrote the rules of the game and played the game at the same time.”

Caine supports the steps taken by President Joe Biden’s administration to curb the tech titans and hopes the legislation can receive bipartisan support.

“It’s like neither party particularly likes big tech monopolies. And so I see an opportunity there,” Caine told AFP.

Read also | US Labor Board says Amazon illegally fired workers criticizing working conditions

According to Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, five years ago, Amazon was taking an average of 19% of seller revenue – an amount that has now grown to around 30%.

“That’s a pretty big increase in the low-margin world of retail,” Mitchell said.

According to the group’s figures, most sellers can’t make enough profit to stay on Amazon for more than five years.

Since a large amount of online shopping traffic starts on Amazon, they “pick winners and losers,” she said.

“So it’s very important that we have regulations that require e-commerce platforms to be neutral and treat fairly the many businesses that depend on this infrastructure.”

Gina Schaefer, who owns 13 hardware stores in the greater Washington DC area, is annoyed that when it comes to online shopping, it is “not a level playing field.”

“Amazon has been allowed over the past two decades to get stronger and stronger, starting with the tax breaks they’ve been given,” she told AFP.

Amazon also has access to “insane amounts of data”.

She fears that apart from government regulations, Amazon may continue to gain strength “because they have no competition” and have access to “unlimited resources”.