Department of Justice antitrust candidate says eager to tackle more than just big tech

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WASHINGTON, Oct.6 (Reuters) – Jonathan Kanter, the third of three progressives appointed to U.S. antitrust leadership positions by President Joe Biden, on Wednesday pledged to enforce antitrust law in agriculture, pharmaceutical prices and the job market, as well as in Big Tech. .

Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee did not focus on the big tech markets, which have garnered a lot of public attention, but asked about a range of industries. In response to each, Kanter pledged to vigorously enforce antitrust law.

Kanter was enthusiastic when asked about the job market, where non-compete agreements and other issues have been criticized for making it harder for workers to quit their jobs for pay higher or better conditions.

He said that once confirmed he was “eager” to work on the matter.

If confirmed by the Senate, as planned, Kanter will take the reins of the Justice Department’s antitrust division amid calls for stricter enforcement overall, with particular criticism targeting Alphabet (GOOGL.O) Google, Facebook Inc (FB.O), Amazon. com Inc (AMZN.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O). The companies have vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

The department sued Google and is investigating Apple for violations of the antitrust law. Read more

Kanter has spent years representing rivals of Google, which the Justice Department sued last year, alleging he violated antitrust law by seeking to hobble his rivals.

The Biden administration had previously chosen two antitrust progressives with technological expertise, Tim Wu for the National Economic Council and Lina Khan to be commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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