Are There Any Impediments to Free Trade?
CED-77-81, Jun 6, 1977
Union/management agreements in some cities, commercial bribery in the meat industry, and manipulation and fixing of meat prices present impediments to free trade in the marketing of meat.
Union/management collective bargaining agreements in some cities, mostly in the Midwest, restrict the sale of various forms of fabricated meat by meat packers to merchants and the hours during which retail stores may sell meat to consumers. The various restrictions, which appear to be on the decline, were estimated to affect less than 10 percent of the population. Commercial bribery is widespread in the meat industry. When it occurs, competition is limited, and consumers are likely to pay more for meat. Several pending court suits filed by cattle producers allege manipulation and fixing of meat prices by certain slaughterhouses, principal food chains, and a private meat-price reporting service.
- Review Pending
- Closed - implemented
- Closed - not implemented
Recommendation for Executive Action
Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should provide increased assurance of compliance with a cease and desist order by including a timely assessment of the packer's planned corrective action in the followup procedures used by the Packers and Stockyards Administration. The administration should also formalize procedures for referring bribery cases to the Internal Revenue Service and for documenting such referrals and their final disposition. The Secretary of the Treasury should have the Internal Revenue Service advise the administration of the action taken on bribery cases referred by the administration and bribery matters involving meat packing firms that come to their attention in the course of income tax investigations.
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