Legal solution needed for equipment with transition engines


In these challenging moments, it is the right time to join forces and convey united messages to the EU in order to provide the necessary details on how the coronavirus crisis is affecting our society and businesses. CEMA and its Member Associations quickly reacted with dedicated meetings of its Strategic Committee, Board and General Assembly to take the needed steps.

The protection of the health and safety of our employees and customers is our utmost priority.

CEMA welcomes the guidelines issued by Member States and European Institutions regarding social distancing, teleworking, flexible working schedules, encouraging physical distancing measures within the workspace, and promoting the use of personal protections. Initiatives have also been launched within the industry to share best practices for containment while ensuring that our facilities remain open for production, distribution, and maintenance as much as possible.

A first assessment of the overall situation and specific impact of Covid-19 on the Agricultural Machinery industry was collected and shared with the European Commission on the 17th  of March, supporting the overall business call as responsibility, action and solidarity was urgently required to protect businesses, society, and our economy. Manufacturers defined and implemented containment and mitigation measures with their local authorities. We also stressed the multiple distribution challenges and supply chain disruptions, and called for the European Commission to explore options for time sensitive products with transition engines under Stage V emissions regulation 1628/2016/EU.

The European Agricultural Machinery Industry is a critical pillar of the EU food supply chain.

Despite the numerous impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, citizens have been able up to now to access a steady and safe supply of food across the EU, thanks to the hard work of farmers, distributors, and retailers who undoubtedly face an increasingly difficult situation. This crisis also put in evidence the complexity of a well-functioning food supply chain and the high integration of the many stakeholders that operate across borders to supply our farmers and help guarantee food security for our fellow citizens. As restrictions across the EU further tighten, it is essential that the production, shipping, distribution, rental, maintenance and servicing of agricultural machinery and their spare parts are included in the shortlist of critical sectors needed for emergency continuity.

CEMA quickly worked with its partners in the Agri-Food Chain Coalition (AFCC) to ensure that this message was shared with European Agricultural Ministers as they convened for an extraordinary session on March 25. CEMA also wrote to Commissioner Breton (Industry) and Commissioner Wojciechowski (Agriculture) to raise the issues our industry was facing and point out the crucial role agricultural machines play in supporting farmers all over Europe to keep running their farm operations and produce high-quality food for EU citizens.

CEMA then joined forces with CLIMMAR (distributors) and CEETTAR (contractors) in a joint statement released on 30 March, stressing how our interconnected sectors were critical to the continuity of our daily lives and food security. Simply put, if farmers do not have access to ordered equipment, services and spare-parts, their work will stop. Our borders need to remain open for traffic and trade, and agricultural machinery and their spare parts / servicing must be eligible to green fast lanes. European Production facilities of agricultural machinery, their components and spare parts must retain the ability to produce and ship, provided the necessary actions have been taken to allow for employees to operate safely. The Commission is coordinating closely with Member States to ensure a functioning single market for goods by creating “Green Lanes” while the following site is tracking essential transport moving essential goods.

A legal solution is needed for machines with transition engines under Stage V

No one could foresee such a disruption in the economic activity. Despite industry’s commitment to comply with applicable EU Regulations or those entering into force soon, this unprecedented situation requires flexibility from the legislator. CEMA worked towards a joint statement with the other EU Industry Associations for non-road mobile machinery (CECE, EUnited, EGMF, FEM and Europgen) to call on the EU for a moratorium on the application of 2020 and 2021 deadlines listed in Regulation 2016/1628/EU regarding exhaust emissions from NRMM and 2018/985/EU for agricultural vehicles.

According to the legislation, Stage V transition engines have been already manufactured and procured for 2020 (power ranges <56kW and ≥130kW) and 2021 (power ranges from 56kW to 130kW). Due to the current  interruptions in the supply of other parts and components, manufacturers are prevented from completing the production and placing on the market / registration / entering into service of these machines by the set deadlines. A temporary solution must be granted, as was already the case for other products in comparable exceptional times ( 2011 Tsunami in Japan).

The European Agricultural Machinery Industry is severely hit.

Agriculture operates on the basis of seasons that cannot be "postponed". This is the tillage, fertilizing, spraying and spring seeding and planting period. As the growing season for food production is starting,  many agricultural machinery are in delivery. Livestock needs to be fed and cared for daily and many other farm, orchard, vineyard, vegetable production, etc. operations are critical at this time. We must do the utmost to safeguard the growth of food products and our food supply for next fall, winter and spring. Manufacturers, distributors and service companies of Agricultural machinery are committed to do so.

But our industry will undoubtedly need support when we get a better understanding of how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our ability to meet other regulatory benchmarks or to simply survive through an unprecedented crisis with foreseeable  solvency issues. The European Union and its member states will need a coordinated response to relaunch the industry and the economy, and CEMA stands ready to further detail needed measures of support for producers of agricultural machinery and farmers.