Press Release | July 09, 2021

Executive Order Offers Benefits, but Harms U.S. Competitiveness, Says CTA

Laura Ambrosio

The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, regarding President Biden's signing of the Promoting Competition in the American Economy Executive Order:

"While we appreciate the administration's focus on competition, the tech industry is already vibrantly competitive – domestically and globally. Tech companies are America's top spenders in research and development, our startup ecosystem is strong and new market entrants are thriving and quickly reaching unicorn status. Americans love their tech products, including many that helped keep them safe, healthy and productive throughout the pandemic.

"Our country is the world leader in innovation – a position we earned through competition, creativity and flat-out hard work. Our nation's technology companies are the crown jewels of the American economy and the envy of the world. But elements of this executive order threaten our global leadership and hard-won success.

"The most concerning aspect is increased scrutiny of business mergers – even those that were completed years ago, entirely within legal bounds. This strays well beyond legitimate government guardrails and threatens our ability to innovate. Countless startups launch with the goal of being acquired by a large company, a process that allows big ideas to become marketplace realities. Prohibiting these acquisitions will dry up venture capital, harm entrepreneurs and small businesses and make our economy less competitive.

"That said, this executive order does propose some good ideas. Instructing the Food and Drug Administration to create rules allowing hearing devices to be sold over-the-counter will put less expensive, cutting-edge technology into the hands of many more Americans who suffer hearing loss. Also, ordering the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to challenge states’ overly broad job-licensing requirements can help out-of-state physicians and health care workers deliver better care and telehealth services to more patients.

"A government effort presuming ‘big is bad’ or trying to pick marketplace winners and losers will reduce innovation, cost our nation countless jobs and upend the savings and retirement plans of millions of Americans. Not all challenges are solved with new rules – and streamlining or eliminating unnecessary rules can foster greater competition and economic growth. We will continue to work with the administration and Congress on ways to enable innovation and competition, rather than thoughtlessly stifle it at every turn."