December 14, 2017 by IDW

        The change between the Obama administration and the Trump administration has proven beyond a doubt that these individual administrations approached governing in fundamentally different ways.  Many in the commercial refrigeration industry are following events in Washington closely to determine if the Trump administration’s policies and outlook will prove beneficial.  Two specific areas of administration policy that are yet to be determined concerns future regulatory efforts and revision of the tax code.  Both of these issues will have enormous repercussions within the industry.

The Regulatory Landscape

        Under the Obama administration, the commercial refrigeration industry saw a surge in regulatory action.  The industry worked closely with the administration, in order to craft regulations that would continue to drive innovation while also recognizing the threat that is global climate change.  The Obama administration crafted numerous policies that sought to aggressively combat climate change in the years to come.  While the Obama administration clearly valued the power of the government to enact widespread change, the Trump administration seems to be taking a different view.  Rather than promoting regulation, the current Republican administration appears to be moving towards fulfilling their campaign promises by promoting deregulation.

One of the most visible examples of the tension between these two administrations occurred recently when the Trump administration officially moved to repeal the Clean Power Plan.   The Clean Power Plan was first conceived and put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2014.  The Clean Power Plan was crafted with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to below levels seen in 2005 by 2030.  On March 28th, 2017 President Trump signed an executive order calling for a review of the Clean Power Plan.  By April 4th, a review was underway, and on October 10th the EPA officially submitted a proposal to repeal the Clean Air Act.  Although the Clean Air Act doesn’t specifically target the commercial refrigeration industry, the Trump administration’s decision to appeal it within their first year in office is indicative of an administration clearly geared towards promoting deregulation.

Taxes

        The Trump administration has also recently submitted proposed revisions to the tax code.  The administration recently unveiled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a comprehensive tax reform package that appears to make good on its campaign promise to reduce taxes for manufacturing firms in the United States.  Tax code reform that benefits manufacturers, particularly in the commercial refrigeration industry, will be a welcome change over the coming years.  In particular, if the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act becomes law, it would help commercial refrigeration manufacturers to more effectively develop and manufacture units onshore.  More importantly, it would give commercial refrigeration manufactures the ability to respond to emerging trends with more flexibility and more effectiveness.  At the same time, a friendlier tax code would result in increased innovation across the industry, which would ultimately benefit the consumer as better designed and more cost-effective products hit the market.

        For the commercial refrigeration industry, the current administration’s proactive campaign towards deregulation, combined with their efforts to make sensible changes to the tax code that benefits manufacturers, is a promising start.  The current administration’s efforts, if enacted as they have been proposed, will create an environment where innovation and change are driven by market demand and consumer satisfaction.  Although the current administration is moving aggressively against the Clean Air Act, the commercial refrigeration industry also recognizes the need for intelligent discussion and product design that is geared towards creating the most efficient and environmentally friendly units available.  With that in mind, industry leaders working with the current administration may be able to steer future regulatory changes in a direction that incorporates valuable input from the industry.  Exactly how, and how much, the Trump administration’s efforts will impact the commercial refrigeration industry remains to be seen.   Although the steps that the administration is taking now may turn out to be promising for the industry, at the same time it is important to recognize that regulatory changes take time to be formulated and take effect.  Working collaboratively with the current administration to craft sensible future regulatory changes will allow the commercial refrigeration industry to stay ahead of the curve.