2020 will be a busy year for the industry

A variety of issues in the commercial foodservice equipment and supplies industry are likely to take center stage in 2020. According to NAFEM President Joe Carlson, CFSP, president, Lakeside Manufacturing Inc., Milwaukee, Wis., “NAFEM will continue to leverage its seat at the table and the visibility we have gained in Washington, D.C., to represent the collective voices of our members. We will continue to serve as the industry’s voice at the federal and, where appropriate, state levels.”

New DOE requirements expected
Following publication of the new Process Rule, DOE is expected to begin proposing test procedures for automatic commercial icemakers, commercial refrigeration equipment and walk-in coolers/walk-in freezers. After those are finalized, the agency should propose new energy-efficiency standards for these same classes of equipment.

Engineers on the cold side will be especially busy this year with these proposed DOE standards and the long-awaited release of the EPA’s revised Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) plan for the use of refrigerants. The agency’s actions, combined with ongoing efforts by several states to reduce HFCs (see article below), promise a challenging year.

Climate key in election year activities
Protecting against further climate change is shaping up to be a key election-year topic. On Jan. 8, the U.S. House of Representatives released the proposed framework of the CLEAN Future Act. The Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act proposes a wide range of possible solutions to address climate change and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. The Act includes proven and innovative policy solutions for the energy, transportation, construction and industrial sectors to “ensure a clean economy.” Draft legislation is expected by early February.

Carbon reduction efforts likely to intensify
NAFEM also expects things to heat up for companies on the hot side of the industry. Multiple states are escalating decarbonization efforts by reducing fugitive and NOX emissions from charbroilers and other equipment (see article below). NAFEM also anticipates continued work in California toward reducing indoor heat-related illnesses.

Awaiting news on DOE’s interim waiver proposed rule
Jeff Longsworth, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg, expects it will be spring before DOE issues a revised draft of its proposed rule to address current delays in requests for interim waivers. In addition to NAFEM’s comments, the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, with which NAFEM has built a strong working relationship, submitted comments encouraging DOE to “finalize this rule to ensure that small businesses receive a decision on their applications in a timely manner.” A test procedure waiver, or an interim waiver, provides relief from the test procedure requirements for covered appliances and commercial equipment if certain criteria are satisfied, such as when the procedure does not adequately reflect the real energy use of a specialized or unique product.

Expect more on the trade front
Myriad additional tariffs could potentially impact NAFEM members. In October, the U.S. imposed retaliatory tariffs on certain goods from Europe stemming from a WTO dispute involving European subsidies for Airbus. These tariffs affect some goods in Chapters 84 and 85 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The U.S. also recently announced impending tariffs on certain goods from France stemming from a dispute over France’s digital goods tax.

According to Christine Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg, trade remedy cases targeting unfair prices, subsidization or intellectual property infringement of U.S. imported products (such as glass containers, straws, batteries, and foodservice equipment and components) could disrupt global supply chains with additional tariffs or restraining orders, if the cases are successful.

“The current administration prioritizes bilateral agreement approaches over multilateral agreements” said Christine. “Therefore, other issues of potential interest to NAFEM members may include agreements with Japan, the EU, post-Brexit U.K. and Korea.”