President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday that includes 72 initiatives he wants over a dozen agencies to undertake to promote competition throughout the U.S. economy, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.

The order goes after corporate monopolies across a broad swath of industries and specifically directs antitrust agencies to focus their enforcement efforts in the labor, healthcare, technology and agriculture sectors.

“Inadequate competition holds back economic growth and innovation,” the White House fact sheet said. The rate of new business formation has fallen by almost 50 per cent since the 1970s as large businesses make it harder for Americans with good ideas to break into markets, the White House said citing research from the Economic Innovation Group.

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The fact sheet also cites research from the American Economic Liberties Project – an influential Washington-based anti-monopoly group – and said lower wages caused by lack of competition are now estimated to cost the median American household $5,000 per year.

Reuters first reported Biden’s plan to issue a competition executive order in late June and subsequently published stories on how it will impact industries such as farm equipment manufacturers, banking, rail and sea shipping.

Some of the measures in the executive order include directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to carefully review mergers that are leaving fewer options for small businesses and direct the agencies to enforce antitrust laws vigorously and challenge prior bad mergers.

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It directs the FTC to issue rules to address competition concerns from Big Tech companies and limit “killer acquisitions” where large internet platforms acquire potential competitors. It also pushes the agency to establish rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data.

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The order also limits non-compete agreements that allow people to change jobs.

On prescription drugs, it lowers prices by supporting programs that facilitate the import of safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.

Biden’s executive order further allows customers to switch banks, helps them lower their internet bills by banning excessive early termination fees, and restores net neutrality rules that require companies to treat all internet services equally. It also makes it easier for people to get refunds from airlines.

The executive order also establishes a White House Competition Council, led by the Director of the National Economic Council, to monitor progress on finalizing the initiatives in the order.

Biden will deliver remarks and sign the executive order at 1:30 pm ET (1730 GMT).

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Jarrett Renshaw in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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