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

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.

In the United States, IPC’s interactions with the Biden administration are underway, and we have made our industry’s voice heard on multiple occasions.

Just last week, IPC sent a letter to Biden outlining a comprehensive policy agenda to ensure the long-term growth and resilience of electronics manufacturing. In its breadth and detail, the letter is a new landmark in IPC advocacy, reflecting the many ways our industry is influenced by government action.

The letter outlines policy recommendations in five key areas, including:

  • Strengthen the defense electronics industrial base
  • Develop and implement a strategy to promote the factories of the future
  • Expand and upskill the workforce
  • Rebuild trade relationships
  • Protect human health and the environment through practical policies and regulations

Also during the early weeks of the Biden administration, IPC welcomed a pair of Biden Executive Orders: one directing agencies to strengthen federal “Buy American” requirements; and the other ordering a review of industrial supply chains critical to U.S. economic growth and security, including electronics.

Most recently, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which provides more short-run economic support in the form of unemployment aid, direct payments to individuals, and business loans, as well as additional funding for vaccines and testing.

It is intriguing to us that IPC works with industry to “Build Electronics Better,” while the Biden administration’s goal is to “Build Back Better.” Our shared language suggests we have a shared vision of creating skilled, well-paying jobs in a resilient, cleaner economy that renews and strengthens U.S. electronics manufacturing.

IPC welcomes the opportunity to work with the Biden administration and all policymakers, just as we have done with every prior administration and Congress. We will continue to promote policies in the U.S.—as we do worldwide—that strengthen the competitiveness and resiliency of electronics manufacturers, while upholding our responsibility to protect human health and the environment.

IPC Calls for Increased Domestic Semiconductor Manufacturing

On another front, IPC recently joined a multi-association coalition calling on the Biden administration to incentivize domestic production of semiconductors. The letter expresses support for the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, which was enacted into law as part of FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and calls for funding semiconductor research and manufacturing initiatives. See the full letter for more details.

Help Shape Factory of the Future Migration

IPC is also inviting IPC members to participate in a new U.S. working group that will help prepare a policy roadmap for the Factory of the Future. The group will develop a white paper identifying policy measures that the U.S. Government can implement to support the electronics industry’s migration to factories of the future, to be used by IPC to promote legislative and regulatory proposals. Let us know if you would like to join and participate. 

U.S. Government Bolsters Security and Resiliency of Defense Electronics Supply Chain

We're also excited to announce that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently awarded $3.9 million to IPC-subsidiary U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE) to establish and manage a new Defense Electronics Consortium (DEC). The DEC is a vehicle through which industry and academia will work with DoD to solve the government’s electronics-related challenges. The DEC’s first project will be an effort to accelerate the adoption of lead-free electronics in defense systems, a move IPC has long advocated. 

We expect to see a growing focus on the security and resiliency of electronics supply chains, a neglected but critically important segment of the defense industrial base in every region of the world.

Electronics Manufacturing Poised for Jobs to Rise Over Pre-Pandemic Levels

All signs indicate 2021 should be a year of recovery, even though the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact us all. The U.S. economy should add back over 6 million jobs, while recent jobs reports suggest the electronics industry is poised to increase its number of jobs over pre-pandemic levels, outpacing the rest of the economy and driving overall growth.

The global economy continues to improve due to the downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases and the increased availability of vaccines. We’ve also seen manufacturing sentiment reach multi-year highs in both the U.S. and Europe. The massive COVID-recovery packages recently enacted in the U.S. and Europe should help further this growth. Looking further into the future, IPC urges policymakers to complement the short-term stimulus with long-term, strategic investments to ensure a lasting, broad-based recovery.

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.

If Your Company Makes or Imports Chemicals, You Could Face New Fees

2021 has also gotten off to a busy start for environment, health, and safety regulations.

First, the comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) "Fees Rule" is open through March 27. If your company uses certain  chemicals, the Fees Rule may have financial impacts on your company. The original rule, published in 2018, provides the EPA with a source of funds to fulfill its obligations under TSCA, including the completion of risk evaluations of high-priority chemical substances.

IPC has been advocating for commonsense reforms to the 2018 rule, and we are pleased that the new proposed rule appears to make important and positive changes. Check out an updated IPC blog for all you need to know about the Fees Rule.

New Rules on PBTs Formally Take Effect

Elsewhere at the EPA, the agency’s final risk management rules to reduce exposure to persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic chemicals (PBTs) went into effect on February 5. Some of the PBTs listed like Decabromodiphenyl-ether (decaBDE) and Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (3:1) have a history of use in the electronics industry. In particular, the PIP (3:1) rule prohibits the processing and distribution of this substance or products containing this substance. On March 8, the EPA opened a 60-day comment period on the final rules for PIP (3:1) and four other PBTs.

IPC will continue to monitor and engage on this policy activity. If these new rules affect your supply chain, or the electronics products that you manufacture, be sure to read the recent IPC blog for more information.

EC Opens Applications for Expert Group on Chemicals Strategy

On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Commission is calling for applications to join an expert group advising on the implementation of the chemicals strategy for sustainability. The group will specifically work to identify and address social, economic, and cultural barriers to the transition toward safe and sustainable chemicals. The deadline to submit applications is March 17.

Also, IPC is watching and engaging in the commission’s review of its Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive in electrical and electronic equipment, and we need your help. IPC welcomes electronics experts who are familiar with RoHS issues to lend their expertise to the exemption renewal process. Please contact Kelly Scanlon if you would like to join one of several working groups addressing Annex III exemptions. Read more about IPC’s review of the European Union’s RoHS Directive on our website.

EP Paves Way for Due Diligence Requirements

Supply chain concerns have been a hot topic thus far in 2021, especially in Europe.

On March 10, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution introducing mandatory due diligence requirements to combat environmental and human rights violations in European supply chains. The commission’s own due diligence proposal is expected in June.

IPC is engaging with policymakers to ensure that any upcoming due diligence legislation is feasible for the electronics industry. We have called for measures that are both effective and workable for electronics manufacturers by providing legal certainty, “reasonable” tier liability, and a light administrative burden.

Does your company have a robust due diligence system in place? Check out a recent IPC blog for more details on the due diligence push across Europe.

Get Involved with IPC Advocacy

I hope after reading this month’s article, you recognize the outsized role that our industry can play in driving the future of manufacturing, and we hope you will choose to get involved yourself. Whether it’s engaging with policymakers in Washington, D.C., in the EU, or in China, the IPC GR Team proactively seeks opportunities to educate, inform and influence policymakers on policies that spur innovation, growth and competition, while protecting human health and the environment. IPC members and friends are our best advocates and sources of information. 

IPC_GR_Team.jpg 

Figure 1: IPC’s GR Team.

Just visit www.IPC.org/advocacy and find an issue you’re passionate about to get started. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our weekly Global Advocacy Report. With your help, we’re looking forward to making 2021 a year that advances the prospects of the electronics industry.

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

 

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2021

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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