The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday to block major sugar maker US Sugar from acquiring one of its biggest competitors.

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The lawsuit, filed in Delaware, comes eight months after US Sugar announced it had reached a deal to acquire Imperial Sugar Company, the Associated Press reports.

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In July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling on the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to vigorously enforce their antitrust efforts. Justice Department officials said the purpose of this strong enforcement is to ensure a fair and competitive market.

Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Cantor, who leads the Justice Department’s antitrust division, told the AP that companies are “seeking to further strengthen the already comfortable sugar industry.”

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“Their merger will eliminate aggressive competition in the supply of refined sugar, which will lead to lower prices, better quality and more reliable service,” he said.

US Sugar denied this and said it plans to fight the lawsuit. In a statement, the company argued that the merger would increase production and distribution and provide more secure supply.

“This transaction will improve supply chain logistics and will not result in higher prices or any loss to customers and consumers,” the company said. “We look forward to having our case in court.”

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

The Justice Department disagreed. It added that the proposed acquisition would “further strengthen the already concentrated market for refined sugar.” That would cut down on competition, with only the newly consolidated company and another major sugar company selling a significant portion of refined sugar in the southeastern US, the Justice Department argues.

The Justice Department says US Sugar, which operates a large refinery in Florida, sells all of its sugar through a marketing cooperative called United Sugars Corporation. Imperial Sugar operates a refinery in Savannah, Georgia, and a sugar transfer and liquidation facility in Ludlow, Kentucky.

“Strong antitrust enforcement is an essential pillar of the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring economic opportunity and fairness for all,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “We will not hesitate to challenge anti-competitive mergers that will harm American consumers and businesses alike.”

The companies announced the acquisition in March, saying it would return Imperial Sugar to all-American ownership. Imperial Sugar is a subsidiary of the Louis Dreyfus Company, headquartered in the Netherlands. The Justice Department says Imperial Sugar’s revenue in 2020 was more than $700 million.

When the acquisition was announced, the companies said it would help expand production and reduce manufacturing costs and increase the security of US sugar supplies. The companies also stated that a newly combined company would provide better competition and expand distribution in the US.

Representatives for Imperial Sugar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.