On July 9, President Biden signed a wide-ranging Executive Order comprising 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies designed to “tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy.”
Within the order’s Agriculture segment, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is encouraged “to limit powerful equipment manufacturers from restricting people’s ability to use independent repair shops or do DIY repairs – such as when tractor companies block farmers from repairing their own tractors.”
Two industry groups – the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) – have issued responses to the right-to-repair passage within the executive order:
AEM: “AEM has made it clear to the White House that equipment manufacturers have always supported farmers’ right to repair their own equipment and remain committed to providing them with the tools and information needed to reduce downtime and maximize productivity. The executive order does not change that. This is not a new issue for the industry. AEM has successfully highlighted the industry’s strong commitment to farmers’ right to repair while vigorously fighting against any and all efforts to make it easier to make modifications that are illegal, unsafe, and harmful to the public and the environment.
“AEM is actively engaging with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission to discuss the many unintended consequences that the Executive Order will have for equipment manufacturers, dealers, and farmers across the country, and to make the following points:
- Equipment manufacturers already provide the tools and information farmers need to repair and maintain their own equipment.
- Modern agriculture equipment is increasingly sophisticated – as a result of efforts to increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve safety – and in a few cases a trained and licenses service technician is required to repair it.
- Hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs, especially in rural areas, are at risk as a result of unfettered third-party repair or self-repair.
- The unfettered ability to modify equipment will effectively destroy the market for used equipment, which is important for many small farmers.
“AEM looks forward to continuing the dialogue with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission as they consider next steps in the coming weeks.”
EDA (Kim Rominger, president and CEO): “Rest assured, the EDA, our regional affiliates, and coalition partners continue to oppose all ‘Right to Repair’ policy initiatives. To date, we have fought back against Right to Repair bills more than 30 times and we have won each time.
“Executive orders are not legislation. They are directives by the current administration to a federal agency (in this case, the Federal Trade Commission). The agency receiving the order is subject to a rule-making process. The rule-making process can take a considerable amount of time, especially when the rule impacts many industries. During this process, stakeholders, like the Equipment Dealers Association and its members, have a right to provide comments on any proposed rule. Finally, the FTC will issue a rule…
“If the executive order to the FTC is created based upon false information (for example, claims we don’t let our customer repair their equipment), the EDA and our coalition partners will have an opportunity to correct that false information. Further, our industry will have the opportunity to comment and potentially challenge the rule. So rest assured, the EDA and our coalition partners will be a part of the rulemaking process and we will continue to fight for the best business environment for equipment dealers.”
The full statements from both organizations can be found on their respective websites.
Update: The FTC has unanimously adopted a Policy Statement aimed at restoring right to repair.
ASSOCIATION OF EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS
EQUIPMENT DEALERS ASSOCIATION