The Federal Trade Commission held an open meeting of the Commission virtually on Thursday, July 1, 2021. This was the first of a series of monthly meetings intended to open the work of the Commission to the public. The open meeting was followed by a time for members of the public to address the Commission. The Commission considered four items of business:
Made in the USA Rule: In a 3-2 vote, the Commission finalized the Made in the USA Rule. The rule will help ensure that consumers can confidently buy American, and that honest companies can realize the benefits of the Made in USA label.
Section 18 Rulemaking Procedures: In a 3-2 vote, the Commission approved streamlining the procedures for Section 18 rules prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Section 18 rules allow the Commission to seek redress for defrauded consumers and penalties against firms that cheat.
“Statement of Enforcement Principles Regarding ‘Unfair Methods of Competition’ Under Section 5 of the FTC Act” (2015): In a 3-2 vote, the Commission rescinded the policy statement issued by the Commission in 2015 in order to better align with the requirements set out by Congress to condemn “unfair methods of competition.”
Enforcement Investigations: In a 3-2 vote, the Commission approved a series of resolutions that will streamline investigations by Commission staff into specific industries or specific conduct. Priority targets include repeat offenders; technology companies and digital platforms; and healthcare businesses such as pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefits managers, and hospitals. The agency is also prioritizing investigations into harms against workers and small businesses, along with harms related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, at a time when merger filings are surging, the resolutions will allow the Commission to ramping up enforcement against illegal mergers, both proposed and consummated.
After conducting its business, the Commission invited members of the public to share feedback on the Commission’s work generally and bring relevant matters to the Commission’s attention. 31 individuals delivered one minute remarks before all five Commissioners. Comments for the record were also accepted.