The Government Circuit: A Robust U.S. Electronics Industry is in Everyone's Interest

I’ve been saying for months that decisions made in 2022 will be critical to the future of electronics manufacturing for years to come. After years of government policy neglect, we have unprecedented opportunities to make things better and position the industry for long-term success. But we certainly cannot take this progress for granted; we must pull together and work for it.

Chris_Mitchell_filler_0422.jpgElectronics are at the heart of the economy, and we believe government should provide a favorable policy framework to reflect the industry’s strategic importance. This is something IPC has been trumpeting for many years; this year, U.S. policymakers seem to be taking notice. Progress continues to be made on legislation to improve domestic manufacturing and competitiveness, including semiconductors and advanced packaging, while new legislation is also in the works to bolster the printed circuit board (PCB) sector. Passage and enactment of these bills would signal—for the first time in a long time—that Washington is getting serious about talking a holistic approach to rebuilding the entire domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem.

Here are several of the top stories of recent weeks from an IPC government relations perspective, including issues that we are continuing to work on. Opportunities for you to get involved and make your company’s voice heard are throughout this article.

Calls Grow for Passage of Competitiveness Legislation
The U.S. House approved a motion recently to begin negotiating with the U.S. Senate on the final version of a bill that will provide much-needed funding for semiconductor manufacturing and other advanced technologies. Both the House- and Senate-passed bills include $52 billion in CHIPS Act funding; at least $2.5 billion in FY 2023 for advanced packaging research and development (R&D); and additional measures to boost domestic R&D.

The Biden administration is pushing hard to enact the legislation, but it remains to be seen if its bipartisan support is strong enough to get it across the finish line this year.

IPC has met with and shared our views with key officials in the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration, and we will continue to work with them to strengthen America’s electronics supply chain, including semiconductors, advanced packaging, PCBs, and related sectors.

If you agree, please visit the IPC Online Advocacy Center now to tell your Members of Congress that a robust U.S. electronics industry is in the national interest. It only takes a minute and has a real impact.

U.S. Government Reports Highlight Importance of ICT Supply Chain
In late February, the U.S. Government released a set of reports on strategic supply chains, which highlighted the need for the United States to foster a robust domestic electronics manufacturing industry. These reports were the strongest statement yet from the Biden administration on the need to rebuild the entire electronics manufacturing ecosystem.

Crucially, the U.S. Department of Commerce report quoted extensively from IPC’s input to them. It’s a positive sign that attention paid toward electronics is expanding beyond its focus on semiconductors. With these reports, the administration has now officially recognized the need to rebuild the entire electronics manufacturing ecosystem, including PCBs, PCB assemblies (PCBAs), critical minerals, advanced packaging, and related technologies.

In related PCB news, IPC has also been involved in shaping some upcoming, bipartisan legislation that would encourage investment in the U.S. PCB sector, and we hope to have more information to share in next month’s column.

The Entire Electronics Ecosystem Needs Support
“We have never had IC substrate production in North America. This isn’t a bring-it-back story. It’s we-need-to-get-it story."

Matt Kelly, IPC chief technologist, recently talked to EE Times about the urgent need for North America to develop domestic capabilities for integrated circuit (IC) substrates, testing, and packaging, and to ease off the heavy reliance on non-domestic sources.1

Currently, most IC substrate makers are in Asia; the United States is more than 20 years behind. While the major investments being made in more chips production in the United States is positive, the lack of domestic assembly and test companies will result in lengthened supply chains.

The United States needs to build a more resilient, robust electronics manufacturing ecosystem beyond just chips. Without such action, U.S.-made chips would still need to be sent offshore to be manufactured into finished products, leaving the U.S. vulnerable to supply chain shocks.

Geopolitical Uncertainty Affects Electronics Manufacturers Worldwide
Like the rest of the world, IPC is closely monitoring the Russia/Ukraine conflict. According to our latest data, the global electronics manufacturing supply chain is already feeling the effects of the conflict.

IPC’s April Monthly Economic Update and Global Sentiment Survey found that 80% of manufacturers expect the war to have a negative impact on commodity prices and transportation costs, while 70% anticipate a negative impact on the stock of raw materials.

So far, the economic impact is being felt most severely in Europe, where the GDP forecast has been adjusted downward by nearly one percentage point. Across the board, we’re seeing rising energy and commodity prices—with many hitting new all-time highs—and a decline in confidence, which results in reduced spending by consumers and investment by businesses. Bidirectional sanctions are also slowing economic growth.

Be sure to check out the latest economic data in full in IPC’s monthly Economic Outlook Reports, which provide data and trends in U.S. and European economic growth, employment, manufacturer’s sentiment, and end markets for electronics.

Sanctions on Russia Include Electronics-Related Export Controls
Several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union, have imposed severe sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Chief among them are export controls that will curtail Russia’s access to foreign technological exports, including semiconductors, and equipment and components used in electronics. The wide-ranging sanctions seek to constrain the development of Russia’s military-industrial complex and limit its access to cutting-edge technology.

Gary Stanley, president at Global Legal Services, recently led an IPC webinar providing information on the newly imposed export controls and how they might affect the electronics industry. View the webinar on-demand on our website, and read more about export controls in the IPC blog.

A Busy Month for European Regulators
Moving away from supply chain concerns and looking toward environment and health issues, regulators across the globe have had an active start to 2022.

In Europe, lead (Pb) metal was one of eight substances included in a draft list of substances being considered for inclusion on the Authorization List (Annex XIV) of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation. IPC is preparing to respond to the public consultation by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which closes on May 2, to provide industry insights on the potential socio-economic effects should Pb be added.

Elsewhere, on March 14, IPC submitted comments to the European Commission’s call for evidence for an impact assessment on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and how it affects electronics. IPC also supported the response from the RoHS Industry Umbrella Project.

In other RoHS-related news, the commission also opened a public consultation through June 2 on a general review of the directive. IPC plans to coordinate a response to this questionnaire, and we will remain engaged on this issue as it develops further.

U.S. EPA Reopens Comments on 20 Toxic Substances
And for our U.S. members, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reopened the dockets for the 20 high-priority substances to undergo risk evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Several of them—flame retardants, phthalates, solvents, and formaldehyde—are relevant to electronics manufacturing.

This move provides an additional opportunity for the public to submit information that would help inform the risk evaluation processes for these chemicals. The dockets are open until June 9. You can read more about IPC’s TSCA work on our website.

IPC’s environmental and health team will continue to monitor and engage on these topics. Please reach out to IPC’s Director of EHS Policy and Research, Kelly Scanlon, if you are interested in helping us inform these future policy decisions.

Get Involved with IPC Advocacy
As always, our advocacy work is bolstered by your voice and your participation.

Encouraging the U.S. government to take a holistic approach to rebuilding its domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem is the central theme of IPC’s ongoing IMPACT Washington Advocacy Campaign. Remember to visit the IPC Online Advocacy Center to make your voice heard.

Also be sure to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our weekly Global Advocacy Report. The IPC GR Team is here to help you, so please reach out if we can help advance an issue that you care about.

References

  1. "Reshoring Chip Industry Risks Failure With Just More Fabs", EE Times, March 7, 2022.

Chris Mitchell is IPC’s VP of global government affairs. Contact him at ChrisMitchell@ipc.org. 

 

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2022

The Government Circuit: A Robust U.S. Electronics Industry is in Everyone's Interest

04-20-2022

I’ve been saying for months that decisions made in 2022 will be critical to the future of electronics manufacturing for years to come. After years of government policy neglect, we have unprecedented opportunities to make things better and position the industry for long-term success. But we certainly cannot take this progress for granted; we have to pull together and work for it.

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The Government Circuit: Ready to Tackle 2022

01-26-2022

As anticipated, it was a busy close to 2021 in Washington, and we saw resolutions on several major legislative priorities, including the annual defense authorization bill, which affects billions in future defense electronics spending. Meanwhile, negotiations on the U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA) remain on the back burner but could heat up in Q1. Read on for some of the recent highlights from 2021 and a look forward to 2022.

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2021

The Government Circuit: IPC is Looking Ahead to 2022

12-20-2021

As the new year beckons, IPC is ready to finish 2021 on a high note. The “big” news around IPC was the recent release of our comprehensive report on the advanced packaging ecosystem in North America. One of the report’s major takeaways is that North America now finds itself in a worrisome predicament: it can design the most cutting-edge electronics but cannot manufacture them. We hope you take the time to check it out, share it with your networks, and stay tuned for more “industry intelligence” reports coming your way.

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The Government Circuit: How Can Government Help or Hurt You in 2022?

10-26-2021

The seasons may be changing, but IPC’s commitment to advocating for the electronics manufacturing industry remains the same.

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The Government Circuit: A Summer Advocacy Update From IPC

09-01-2021

It’s been a busy summer here at IPC, with policy debates heating up across the globe. Here in Washington D.C., the U.S. Congress adjourned for its August “District Work Period,” but not before the U.S. Senate passed a major bipartisan infrastructure package, which we believe would positively affect our industry.

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The Government Circuit: IPC—Which Government Policies Worry You Most?

07-14-2021

As we begin the second half of the year, it provides us all with a good opportunity to take stock of our goals, hit the refresh button if necessary, and recommit to finishing the year strong. How are you feeling about the rest of 2021?

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The Government Circuit: Advocating for the Entire Electronics Supply Chain

06-16-2021

Here in Washington, we are encouraged by recent policy discussions that indicate a bipartisan commitment to U.S. manufacturing that is long overdue. European officials are also promoting a policy agenda that could be very positive for electronics. But there is still more work to be done to bolster the entire electronics ecosystem.

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The Government Circuit: Supply Chain Concerns Emerge as Global Issue

05-17-2021

IPC's Chris Mitchell shares updates on the new U.S. administration's focus on manufacturing, a holistic approach to supply chain management, recovery in Europe, the latest economic trends in the industry, and much more...

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The Government Circuit: Making Connections Between ‘Build Electronics Better,’ ‘Build Back Better’

03-17-2021

The new year has already spawned several positive government policy actions for the electronics industry, leaving us intrigued about the year to come. We're seeing an increase in policy debates that affect our industry, making IPC’s government relations (GR) work more critical than ever.

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The Government Circuit: IPC is Ready for the Year of Advocacy Ahead

01-19-2021

As anticipated, it was a busy close to 2020 in Washington, and we saw resolutions on several major legislative priorities, including coronavirus recovery, spending bills, and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). IPC was able to secure some policy victories for the electronics manufacturing industry and keep our agenda moving forward into the new year. Read on for some of the recent highlights

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2020

The Government Circuit: Looking Ahead to 2021

12-15-2020

Before the 116th Congress adjourns for the holidays, IPC expects to secure some policy victories for the electronics manufacturing industry and keep its policy agenda moving forward. Read on—and watch this space—to learn how it all turns out.

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The Government Circuit: As 2021 Nears, What’s on IPC’s Government Policy Radar?

11-11-2020

In the United States, Election Day 2020 has come and gone, and all signs indicate that former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive President-elect. It’s shaping up to be a busy month here at IPC, heading into a busy new year. Chris Mitchell details some of the top issues we’re following this November.

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The Government Circuit: U.S. and European Lawmakers Eyeing Changes That Would Affect Our Industry

10-14-2020

The seasons may be changing, but IPC’s commitment to advocating for the electronics manufacturing industry remains constant as we look to position our industry for success in the coming year. Chris Mitchell shares some highlights of the top issues IPC is focused on this month.

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The Government Circuit: Green Regulations, the Economy, COVID-19, and ‘Decoupling’ in Focus for IPC This Fall

09-21-2020

Summer may be winding down, but autumn is shaping up to be a busy advocacy season for IPC. In this month’s column, Chris Mitchell provides an overview of the latest worldwide regulations you should be attuned to, the global economic landscape, and opportunities to make your voice heard with policymakers.

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The Government Circuit: Environmental, Health, and Safety Issues Are Hot in U.S., EU, and Asia

08-19-2020

Although coronavirus, trade wars, and supply chain concerns have dominated the discussion in our industry in recent months, many important environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues are on the agenda as well. This column provides an overview of the EHS policy landscape and what IPC is doing to advocate for the electronics manufacturing industry.

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The Government Circuit: Renewed Focus on Worldwide Supply Chain Amid COVID-19

07-15-2020

One of the key takeaways from the coronavirus pandemic is that in times of crisis, sophisticated global supply chains can break down. Chris Mitchell explains how as the pandemic continues to play out, IPC is actively engaged in promoting global trade and the regionalization of supply chains.

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The Government Circuit: Coping With COVID-19 and Emerging Environmental Regs

06-10-2020

Across all regions where IPC has an advocacy presence, the policy debate is still dominated by the need to beat COVID-19 and climb out of the economic crisis. IPC's Chris Mitchell explains how governments are still working through their massive pandemic-recovery plans, and it is unclear whether national economies will snap back within months or take years to recover.

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The Government Circuit: Government Policy Moves Are More Important Than Ever During a Pandemic

05-06-2020

Isn’t it amazing how quickly and thoroughly the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world? Chris Mitchell shares several of the top stories of recent weeks from an IPC government relations perspective, including issues that IPC is continuing to work on.

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The Government Circuit: An IPC Roadmap to Economic Recovery

03-26-2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic exacts a growing toll, public and private actors worldwide are marshaling resources to combat the spread of the virus and save the lives of those who are critically ill. In this unprecedented crisis, Chris Mitchell explains how IPC supports a sustained and bold policy agenda to help us all weather the economic downturn resulting from sweeping restrictions on business activity.

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The Government Circuit: IPC Marks Progress in Government Advocacy in 2019

01-14-2020

As we turn the calendar from 2019 to 2020, it is a natural time to take stock of the past year and look ahead to the year to come. Here are a few of the top stories of 2019 from Chris Mitchell's perspective as a government relations professional working to support the electronics manufacturing industry through public policy advocacy.

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2019

The Government Circuit: Europe Eyeing Changes in RoHS Environmental Regulations

12-02-2019

One of the world’s most comprehensive and restrictive environmental regulations is undergoing a comprehensive regulatory review, and IPC is actively involved in the process, coordinating industry views and advocating on behalf of the electronics manufacturing industry. Chris Mitchell gives an update on activities related to the European Commission’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) Directive.

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The Government Circuit: U.S.-China Tariff War Threatens American Jobs and Investments

11-06-2019

Fifty-five percent of companies report they are facing higher costs as a result of higher tariffs, which are affecting, on average, about one-third of the total dollar value of the products they import. Some companies say their costs have increased more than the direct costs of the tariffs due to higher administrative and operational burdens to sort it all out.

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The Government Circuit: Recession Fears, Trade Wars: What Can We Do?

09-04-2019

Despite many strong economic indicators, recent news reports are filled with growing concerns about the risk of a U.S. and global recession in the next 12–24 months. Amid a prolonged trade war between the U.S. and China, and an "inversion" between long-term and short-term bond yields, a recent survey found that 74% of economists predict the next recession will hit by the end of 2021.

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The Government Circuit: Trump Praises Industry on Workforce Issues, IPC Launches Grassroots Platform

08-07-2019

July was a fun, productive month for IPC on the government relations front. Most notably, IPC’s workforce development efforts were recognized at the White House in Washington and on a factory floor in Michigan. On another front, we've launched an online platform that makes it easier for our members to contact their elected officials, and we’re using it to seek more R&D funding for an important industry project.

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The Government Circuit: IPC Promoting R&D on Lead-free Electronics, Streamlined Chemical Data Reporting, and More

07-04-2019

For the most part, working in government relations is like running a marathon, not a sprint. It can take weeks, months, or even years to formulate an industry consensus position, educate the relevant policymakers in legislatures and executive branch agencies, build alliances and broad support, and ultimately push a final action over the finish line. That metaphor was certainly fitting in recent weeks as IPC scored two interim wins on issues we’ve been working on for years.

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The Government Circuit: Team IPC Working on North American Trade, EPA Regulations, EU Policy, and More

06-13-2019

In one of the highlights of IPC’s work every year, top executives from electronics companies from across the U.S. came together in Washington, D.C., recently to call for policies that will drive the electronics industry’s success. Attendees met with leading policymakers to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the electronics supply chain, EPA regulations, and workforce education.

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IPC’s D.C. Focus: Chemicals Regulations, Lead-Free, Export Controls

05-07-2019

From North America to Europe, Asia, and beyond, the future of the electronics manufacturing industry is shaped in many ways by government policies. That’s why IPC maintains an active, multifaceted government relations program, including leadership and networking opportunities for member company executives.

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U.S. Tax Law Boosts Growth, But Uncertainties Loom

04-17-2019

Monday, April 15 was the deadline for millions of Americans to file their income tax returns, so this is a good time to review the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) as well as the current tax policy landscape and how these rules are affecting the electronics industry.

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