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Merchant groups target Amazon in new political campaigns

WASHINGTON – Merchants are forming a national coalition campaigning for stricter antitrust laws, including measures that could force Amazon.com Inc. to separate some of its lines of business.

The effort was launched on Tuesday by a trade group representing small hardware stores, suppliers, offices, bookmakers, groceries and more, along with business groups from 12 cities, the organizers said. The merchants plan to push their congressional representatives to enforce tougher antitrust laws and enforce existing laws.

Groups, which together represent thousands of businesses, need federal laws that prevent prominent online marketplace owners from selling their own products in competition with other vendors, a policy that can be split. Amazon̵

7;s retail business is effectively leaving the online marketplace.

Members of the council’s antitrust subcommittee are considering legislation along those lines as they weigh changes in U.S. antitrust laws, although no legislation has yet been passed.

Traders also want tougher enforcement of competition laws and legal changes that will make it easier for governments to win antitrust cases against big companies.

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