FTC Lays Groundwork for Rulemakings: Are New Substantive Competition Rules Coming?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appears poised to begin testing the scope of its rulemaking authority, including new substantive competition rules for the first time in decades.[1] On March 25, 2021, FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Slaughter (D) formed a group within the agency’s Office of the General Counsel to centralize FTC rulemakings. In announcing the change, Slaughter said that it was “time for the Commission to activate its unfair methods of competition rulemaking authority,” and that she is “excited for this new rulemaking group to explore all the possibilities.”[2] 

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[1] See “Discriminatory Practices in Men’s and Boys’ Tailored Clothing Industry,” 16 CFR Part 412 (1968).  Note that this rule was repealed in 1994.  See Notice of Rule Repeal, 59 Fed. Reg. 8527 (Feb. 23, 1994).

[2] Press Release, Fed. Trade Comm’n, “FTC Acting Chairwoman Slaughter Announces New Rulemaking Group” (March 25, 2021), https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2021/03/ftc-acting-chairwoman-slaughter-announces-new-rulemaking-group