Deciphering the Presidential Determination

On March 27, 2023, U.S. President Biden issued a presidential determination that, IPC states, “prioritizes the domestic development of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and advanced packaging, including IC substrates, under Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA).

IPC welcomes this action, but what does this really mean? IPC vice president of global government relations, Chris Mitchell, joins Nolan Johnson to clarify what a presidential determination is, what it means to both the industry and individual companies.

Audio Transcript:

IPC’s Chris Mitchell, vice president of global government relations, explains the March 27 Presidential Determination for Printed Circuit Boards and Advanced Packaging.

Nolan Johnson: Hi, Nolan Johnson here for Real Time with… I-Connect007, and I have the pleasure of speaking with Chris Mitchell. He is the vice president of global government relations for IPC. Chris, welcome.

Chris Mitchell: Thanks, Nolan. It's always great to be with you.

Johnson: On Monday this week, March 27, IPC put out a press release welcoming the U.S. presidential determination prioritizing domestic development of printed circuit boards and IC substrates. That's pretty newsy.

Mitchell: Yes, it was. A big development and one that's been—quite frankly—a long time in coming. We're exuberant that it was issued on Monday and it's notable that it came out, really, on the heels of an announcement on Friday, while the president was in Canada that the U.S. would be committing, through the Defense Production Act, $50 million for the strengthening of the U.S. PCB and advanced packaging industries.

Johnson: How is a determination different from an executive order?

Mitchell: First, the Defense Production Act, over its 70-plus year history, has evolved in order to allow the president and the U.S. government to more broadly address any number of Industrial Base issues. In this case, the president issued a presidential determination. This comes through in the form of a memorandum to the secretary of defense. And it is the president's mechanism for, one, identifying an Industrial Base need as a strategic national priority in the interests of our nation's defense. And in addition, providing exemptions to certain requirements that many industries under the Defense Production Act program would normally need to meet in order to secure the kind of benefits and opportunities that that the program can afford. I think what we see in this presidential determination is, at the very highest levels of the U.S. government for the first time—at least in recent history—an affirmation that the printed circuit board industry is of significant strategic importance to the nation. By designating the industry as having that strategic national importance, it then gives the industry the ability to leverage the Defense Production Act to ramp up production and innovation.

Johnson: Now, this is the first time that's coming from the president himself. However, there has been quite a bit of activity in the past few months that have telegraphed this.

Mitchell: Yes. But clearly the government's been preparing for this. The Defense Department is not alone, but certainly taking the lead in helping to provide a greater level of support for the industry given the significant vulnerabilities that exist.

Johnson: How do you see this affecting the CHIPS Act and any subsequent legislation following behind, such as a new version of last Congress's HR 7677?


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