The US Department of Justice on Thursday unveiled a new initiative to identify companies that are exploiting supply chain disruptions in the country to increase profits, violating federal antitrust laws.
The program, which also includes the FBI, is coming into effect amid ongoing supply chain problems and manpower shortages that have plagued retailers since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Justice Department lawyers fear that companies will “seek to exploit supply chain disruptions to generate illicit profits,” and if that is the case, they will be prosecuted by both entities for antitrust violations they discover, the department explained.
Prosecutors said these violations could include agreements between individuals and companies to reform prices or wages, or to reform bidding procedures.
The US government has also formed a working group focused on supply chain collusion with authorities from other countries such as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The goal is to share intelligence and discover global deception.
“Illegal conduct will not be allowed to exist in temporary disruptions in the supply chain,” said Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who heads the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
“The antitrust department will not allow companies to conspire to impose more duties on consumers under the guise of supply chain disruptions,” she added.
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