A new coalition of small business groups on Tuesday launched a campaign for tougher US antitrust enforcement, specifically calling for the breakup of online commerce titan Amazon.

The Small Business Rising group includes the American Booksellers Association, National Grocers Association, and a number of local and regional business organizations.

The coalition website said its goal is to "stop tech monopolies, such as Amazon, from cornering the online market by breaking them up and regulating them."

The move comes amid a growing backlash against large technology firms which have dominated key economic sectors and seen their influence grow during the pandemic.

The new small business group said it supported the conclusions of a recent US congressional report highlighting the power of tech platforms and calling for tougher antitrust enforcement and new legislation to make it easier to dismantle some firms.

A new small business coalition argues that Amazon has used anti-competitive tactics to crush rivals
A new small business coalition argues that Amazon has used anti-competitive tactics to crush rivals AFP / Niklas HALLE'N

"By restoring competitive markets, we can unlock the potential of Americans to grow successful businesses and build an economy that is more prosperous, equitable, and innovative," the group said.

It specifically named Amazon, saying the company's "stranglehold over online commerce is one of the top threats facing independent businesses."

The group said the congressional investigation "found that Amazon has exploited its gatekeeper power over online shopping traffic to impose exorbitant fees, demand oppressive terms, and extract valuable data from independent manufacturers and retailers that depend on its platform."

Amazon pushed back at the claims that it stifles competition, arguing in a statement that "self-serving critics are pushing misguided interventions in the free market that would kill off independent retailers and punish consumers."

A company statement in response to an AFP query said that "Amazon empowered small and medium-sized businesses to generate hundreds of billions of dollars in sales last year, and their sales are growing significantly faster than Amazon's first party sales."