The Government Circuit: U.S. Congress Gets Serious About Boosting U.S. PCB Sector

As you know so well, electronics manufacturing contributes powerfully to the U.S. and global economy, but a great deal of work must be done continuously to reinvent and rebuild our industry for the future.

Here in Washington, we are encouraged by new legislation indicating a bipartisan commitment to U.S. manufacturing that is long overdue. See below for more details on this legislation, which would bolster the long-neglected printed circuit board (PCB) sector, and how you can express your support for it.

Policy debates across the globe are heating up as we approach the summer months. Please enjoy this monthly update on the latest government policy developments affecting electronics manufacturing.

Electronics Industry Welcomes Proposal in Congress to Boost U.S. PCB Sector
The electronics manufacturing industry is welcoming a new, bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Congress that would help bring back the U.S. printed circuit board (PCB) sector. The Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act of 2022, introduced by Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Blake Moore (R-UT), would incentivize purchases of domestically produced PCBs as well as investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development (R&D).

Such legislation is long overdue and based on solid research. According to “Leadership Lost,” a recent IPC report, the United States “has lost its historic dominance in the PCB sector.” Since 2000, the U.S. share of global PCB production has fallen from over 30% to just 4%, with China now dominating the sector at around 50%. Only four of the top 20 electronics manufacturing services (EMS) companies are based in the United States.

Any loss of access to non-domestic sources of PCBs would be catastrophic. But this legislation begins to remedy this threat.

If you agree that the U.S. PCB sector needs more government policy support, please take a few minutes now to contact your Members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor this bill. It’s quick, easy, and has a real impact.

IPC Plays Key Role in NIST Workshop on Semiconductor Metrology R&D
The U.S. Government is continuing to call on IPC as it plans its research and development (R&D) programs related to semiconductors and the broader electronics manufacturing ecosystem under the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act.

On April 20 and 21, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) hosted the second workshop in a series of virtual events focused on semiconductor metrology research and development (R&D), and IPC and the entire electronics manufacturing industry were well-represented. The plenary speaker at the workshop, Jan Vardaman of TechSearch International, was the co-author of a recent IPC report on advanced packaging, while IPC Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Matt Kelly also assembled and moderated a panel on supply chain areas critical for the future of advanced packaging.

This event was the latest successful example of IPC’s ongoing efforts to educate policymakers about our industry and urge them to take a “silicon-to-systems” approach to successfully meet consumer demands and re-establish the United States as a global leader in electronics manufacturing. Read more in a new IPC blog.

IPC Calls for Robust Support of Advanced Packaging in European Chips Act
Our call for critical support of advanced packaging has also reached policymakers’ ears in Europe.

IPC recently advocated for robust support of advanced packaging in comments submitted to the European Commission on the European Chips Act and how to best implement the strategy. In the comments, IPC reiterated the critical role that advanced packaging plays in chip performance and supply chain resiliency; and that government policy support should extend to both IC substrate fabrication and final package assembly and testing.

IPC continues to advocate for swift adoption and implementation of the legislation as part of a broader strategy to rebuild the European electronics manufacturing ecosystem. Stay tuned for updates in the upcoming months.

Geopolitical Uncertainty Affects Electronics Manufacturers Worldwide
Meanwhile, the state of the global supply chain remains tenuous at best.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a negative supply shock on already strained supply chains. We predict that it will take many months to fully determine the full effect it is having on the electronics industry. IPC’s May Global Sentiment Survey found that nine in 10 electronics manufacturers are currently experiencing rising material costs, while nearly four-fifths are experiencing rising labor costs.

And according to IPC’s May Economic Report, at least two other forces are exerting major pressures on our industry: inflation is pushing costs higher, and China’s strict COVID-19 policy are causing disruptions there. Although downside risks have increased, a recession is still unlikely in the United States this year. However, in Europe, the probability of a recession in major economic markets has increased. Of course, the trajectory of the COVID pandemic also continues to play a major role in the economic health of the global economy.

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.

IPC’s Environment and Health Advocacy Heats Up
IPC’s Kelly Scanlon has had a busy month spearheading IPC’s EHS advocacy; here’s what’s on that radar this summer.

The European Commission recently opened a public consultation on the general review of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, including evaluation of the criteria and timelines for exemptions. The RoHS Directive, which aims to protect human health and the environment and maximize recovery of certain hazardous substances after their use, is one of the most important policies shaping electronics manufacturing. The deadline for comment is June 2.

Meanwhile, the commission also opened a public consultation on a regulation that would repeal the existing Ecodesign Directive and establish a new framework for setting ecodesign requirements for sustainable products. The proposed regulation notably includes requirements for identifying substances of concern across a product’s life cycle and other information requirements, including a digital product passport. The consultation is open through June 22.

IPC is involved in both consultations, so stay tuned to our Global Advocacy Report and next month’s column in I-Connect007, where we’ll have updates for you.

Here in the United States, 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 decision will allow an additional opportunity for our industry to submit information that would help inform the risk evaluation processes for these chemicals, some of which have relevance to electronics manufacturing processes and products. The dockets are open until June 9. IPC has been very involved in TSCA issues, which you can read more about at ipc.org.

Finally, on April 21, Kelly Scanlon, IPC’s director of EHS policy and research, led a free webinar on how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are used in electronics manufacturing and how future regulations of PFAS might affect the industry. 

IPC’s environmental and health team will continue to monitor and engage on all these topics. Please reach out to us if you have questions on what your company can do to address any of these policy activities!

Get Involved with IPC Advocacy
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to make your voice heard by policymakers, whether it's concerning U.S. Government support of PCBs or the latest activity by Europe’s chemical regulators.

We always welcome your participation in our efforts to educate and encourage the U.S. government to take a holistic approach to rebuilding its domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem. If you agree, we need you to visit the IPC Online Advocacy Center and tell your Members of Congress that a robust U.S. electronics industry is in the national interest. As members of the electronics manufacturing industry, your voices hold weight, and they want to hear from you.

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

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

 

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2022

The Government Circuit: U.S. Congress Gets Serious About Boosting U.S. PCB Sector

05-25-2022

As you know so well, electronics manufacturing contributes powerfully to the U.S. and global economy, but a great deal of work must be done continuously to reinvent and rebuild our industry for the future. Here in Washington, we are encouraged by new legislation indicating a bipartisan commitment to U.S. manufacturing that is long overdue. See below for more details on this legislation, which would bolster the long-neglected printed circuit board (PCB) sector, and how you can express your support for it.

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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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