Producer to Purchaser

For 24 years the Federal Trade Commission poked and jabbed at heavy industry's . basing-point system ,of pricing. Under that system, producers absorbed enough freight costs to "meet competition" in areas distant from their mills, added "phantom freight" costs on some short-haul sales. Thus they got to identical prices at any given destination. Last April, the Supreme Court upheld FTC's charge that such identical prices added up to trustlike collusion. The court ordered the defendants in the case, the cement industry, to drop the basing-point system. The order went into effect last week.

The industry was feeling no pain: with cementmakers...

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