A new International Trade Commission regulation gives a useful reminder of the holy trinity of price regulation: if a company charges a higher price than its competitors, it is guilty of having excessive market power over its competitors. If it charges the same price as its competitors, it is guilty of collusion. And if it charges lower prices than its competitors, it is guilty of unfairly undercutting its competitors.
Other new regulations from last week range from cotton imports to blueberries.
On to the data:
- Last week, 80 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register, after 73 the previous week.
- That’s the equivalent of a new regulation every two hours and 6 minutes.
- So far in 2015, 2,258 final regulations have been published in the Federal Register. At that pace, there will be a total of 3,282 new regulations this year, which would be more than 200 fewer rules than the usual total of 3,500-plus.
- Last week, 1,313 new pages were added to the Federal Register, after 1,261 pages the previous week.
- Currently at 53,689 pages, the 2015 Federal Register is on pace for 78,037 pages.
- Rules are called “economically significant” if they have costs of $100 million or more in a given year. Nineteen such rules have been published so far this year, none in the past week.
- The total estimated compliance cost of 2015’s economically significant regulations ranges from $1.32 billion to $1.41 billion for the current year.
- 188 final rules meeting the broader definition of “significant” have been published so far this year.
- So far in 2015, 379 new rules affect small businesses; 55 of them are classified as significant.
Highlights from selected final rules published last week:
- The Energy Department gives substantial amounts of money to private businesses. A new regulation specifies some of its requirements for doing so.
- New restrictions for medical marijuana users who use SNAP funds to purchase their medication.
- The federal government has a Cotton Research and Promotion Program. A new regulation adjusts its assessments for cotton importers.
- New membership requirements for the federal government’s U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.
- Now that it’s 2015, U.S. Customs is allowing certain vehicle importers to submit their paperwork electronically.
- The International Trade Commission is investigating whether importers are charging their customers low prices. If the ITC thinks their prices are consumer-friendly, those importers may be punished; recall a similar state-level controversy in Wisconsin in which a grocery store is facing legal action for charging lower prices than its competitors.
- Until now, Lithuanian meat exporters were forbidden to sell to customers in the United States. Now they can—subject to certain conditions.