Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the Justice Department is right to be looking into Amazon‘s practices as part of its antitrust review of big technology companies.
“I think if you look at Amazon, although there are certain benefits to it, they’ve destroyed the retail industry across the United States so there’s no question they’ve limited competition,” Mnuchin said to CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday.
“I think it’s very good that the attorney general is going to look into this. I think it’s an important issue and I look forward to him reporting back to the president and hearing his recommendations,” said Mnuchin.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Dept. of Justice said it is opening a broad antitrust review of big technology companies, sending shares of Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook lower in off-hours trading. The DOJ said it is looking into how major online platforms have “achieved market power” and how their practices may have “reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.”
Shares of Amazon ticked more than 1% lower on Wednesday.
“There’s areas where [Amazon] really hurt small businesses,” said Mnuchin.
In comparing Amazon to big-box retailer Walmart, Mnuchin said the two company’s competitive practices are both similar and different.
“People had those concerns about Walmart. Walmart developed a business where small business could continue to compete with them,” said Mnuchin.
Mnuchin said it is hard to lump the so-called FANG stocks together regarding competitive practices.
“I don’t think you can talk about competition among all these companies in the same way,” said Mnuchin. “People talk about the FANG stocks like they’re all the same. Each company is very different.”