Some Praise for the FTC

Cite this Article
Joshua D. Wright, Some Praise for the FTC, Truth on the Market (September 30, 2010),

We dole out at least our fair share of criticism for the Federal Trade Commission here.  Now its time for some credit where its due.  Historically, one of the consistent highlights of the Commission’s output has been its competition policy advocacy work.  In this case, the FTC (or at least the Bureau of Competition, Bureau of Economics, and the Office of Policy and Planning) provided comments on New Jersey Senate Bill 484.   Under current New Jersey law, gasoline retailers are prohibited from selling “motor fuel at a price which is below the net cost of such motor fuel to the retai dealer plus all selling expenses.”   The FTC has been consistent in its opposition to these state “below cost” pricing prohibitions in submissions to other states.  In this case, SB 484 would relax this restriction as it exists in New Jersey by allowing retailers to engage in below-cost pricing in order to meet competition in the absence of “intent to injure competition or destroy or substantially lessen competition.”   It is state antitrust laws such as these that allow suits like this.   The FTC is correct to favor amendments to state laws such as SB 484 that would minimize the ability to put them to uses that will inevitably hamper competition and harm consumers.