The European Commission adopted the Circular Economy Action Plan last year aimed at forcing companies to create products that have longer shelf life and can be easily repaired through a "right to repair" bill. That policy would take effect in 2021, covering smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Now, the same rules could be adopted in the U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly plans to order the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draft "right to repair" policies that will give consumers the freedom to repair their devices on their own or at independent repair centers. The President could release an executive order in the coming days, according to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the plan.
While the FTC is yet to formally decide which industries will be covered by the new directive, the primary beneficiaries are expected to be farmers as it will allow them to repair their equipment without resorting to expensive repair costs provided by manufacturers. Smartphones will most notably not be exempted from the new rules. Tech giants like Apple and AT&T have long lobbied against efforts to pass right to repair laws in a few states such as Nebraska on grounds that consumers might put themselves at risk if they tinker with electronic products.
President Biden's move could mark the first time a sitting president takes this type of policy into consideration. Most recently, You Sow, a watchdog that oversees the environmental effects of electronic waste, also filed a shareholder resolution urging Microsoft to adopt right to repair policies for its products.