The Government Circuit: Time to Advocate for Critical PCB Legislation

As we enter the second half of the year, it provides us all with a fresh opportunity to assess our goals, hit the refresh button if necessary, and recommit to finishing the year strong.

How are you feeling about the rest of 2022?

Here at IPC, we remain committed to educating policymakers and building lasting support for government policies that enable our industry to thrive. But we can’t do it without the help of our members. The more industry leaders like you are involved in our advocacy, the greater impact we have, and the more successful we are.

Read on for some of the highlights of our ongoing work around the world, including some fresh opportunities to make your voice heard.

The U.S. Economy Needs the Bipartisan Innovation Act and the PCB Act
After more than two decades of outsourcing, the United States still designs cutting-edge electronics but manufactures only a small fraction of the global supply, creating serious risks to U.S. economic and national security. Now a pair of bills under consideration in the U.S. Congress are directly addressing these concerns, and IPC is leading the charge to secure their passage.

Congress is currently considering the Bipartisan Innovation Act, formerly USICA in the Senate and the America COMPETES Act in the House, which would provide much-needed funding for semiconductor chips manufacturing and other advanced technology priorities. Meanwhile, the recently-introduced, bipartisan Supporting American Printed Circuit Boards Act (PCB Act) would invest in the domestic electronics supply chain by incentivizing purchases of domestically produced PCBs and investments in factories, equipment, workforce training, and research and development (R&D).

IPC has been actively engaged on this legislation since its introduction. In June, IPC and its industry allies in the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA) and the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE) sent a letter urging every member of the U.S. Congress to support the bill. Most recently, IPC organized a supportive letter signed by more than 100 industry executives; and industry members can call on their Members of Congress to support the bill via IPC’s Action Alert Center.

Be sure to check out a new IPC video interview in which I detailed why the U.S. government must take a holistic approach to rebuilding the domestic electronics manufacturing ecosystem and why these two pieces of legislation are critical to addressing years of neglect of the industry. I also shared ways industry members and policymakers can take immediate action on this issue.

I encourage everyone in this industry to learn more about these bills and reach out to their Members of Congress, especially given the heightened interest we’re seeing in our supply chain. Please contact IPC’s Ken Schramko if you’d like to lend your voice to our advocacy efforts.

Supply Chain Resiliency is a Top Priority in Europe
Meanwhile, the second half of 2022 is slated to be a busy one for European policymakers.

In June, EU policymakers met to discuss progress on the EU Chips Act and the EU’s industrial policy, which aims to diversify Europe’s supply chains and improve security and resiliency. However, some policymakers expressed concern that the existing instruments and funding should be used “as effectively as possible” to develop the semiconductor sector in Europe.

Elsewhere, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) published an opinion on the Chips Act and stressed the need to strengthen the entire semiconductor value chain and ecosystem. The opinion noted that “it is not just chips, but also skills in materials and processes, including packaging, that play a fundamental role in enabling new semiconductor technologies.” The opinion also called for an increase in funding and additional provisions to tackle EU dependencies on raw materials. Strong language like this is a clear sign that our message is resonating with policymakers.

Reaching a final agreement on the Chips Act and implementing the industrial strategy are also two of the top priorities of the Czech Republic’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, which began on July 1. The presidency’s responsibilities include steering the council’s political agenda and helping achieve compromises among EU institutions and EU Member States.

IPC will continue to monitor these discussions and to work with European institutions and EU Member States to implement the Chips Act and to augment it with support for the industries upon which semiconductor manufacturers rely. Stay tuned for updates in the coming months.

IPC’s Latest Economic Trends Report
On the economic front, the situation remains tenuous at best. In fact, over the past month, we have seen economic growth projections lowered for the United States, Europe, and China.

IPC’s July Global Sentiment Survey found that nine in 10 electronics manufacturers are currently experiencing rising material costs, while four-fifths are experiencing rising labor costs. Eighty percent of respondents also reported they have increased prices due to higher material and labor costs.

And according to IPC’s July Economic Report, inflationary pressures remain historically high in many parts of the world. While supply chains appear to be improving, pricing pressure remains stiff, hurting many businesses’ profitability. We will watch how these forces evolve in the coming months, amid the other global uncertainties that are dominating the near-term outlook.

Be sure to check out all 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.

Interested in Chemical and Product Regulations in the United States?
Environmental regulatory developments are also continuing in the United States. On June 28, 2022 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to revise its standards for workplace exposure to lead (Pb). Lead can be found in solders used in electronics manufacturing, and some facilities may be affected by this revised standard. Comments on modifying OSHA’s lead standards are due by Aug. 29, 2022.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is soliciting public comments on the draft risk determination of two chemicals—methylene chloride and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP)—being evaluated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Both chemicals have industrial and commercial use in electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing. Comments are due on Aug. 1 and Aug. 4 for NMP and methylene chloride, respectively.

Please let us know if your company uses these chemicals, will be affected by these actions, or if you have any insights for us.

Know Anyone Interested in an Environmental Policy Career?
Do you know anyone who is passionate about environmental and health issues? We might have just the role for them here at IPC.

IPC is looking to hire an environmental regulatory affairs manager who will be responsible for coordinating information relevant to regulatory affairs and industry advocacy. This position will help monitor global environmental policy developments and regulatory requirements, liaise with industry members and policymakers, and develop responses to government consultations.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Help IPC’s Advocacy Team Help You
As you may realize, there is a lot going on here at IPC, but we can’t do it without your help and input.

If you have not visited the IPC Action Alert Center lately, please check it out and follow the links to:

  • Urge your Members of Congress to support the PCB sector
  • Help secure federal support for the entire electronics supply chain
  • Tell us which government policies concern you the most

IPC is guided by your perspectives on these issues. Please send us a message if you have any input or questions on what governments should be doing to support the industry’s long-term growth and evolution.

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

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2022

The Government Circuit: Time to Advocate for Critical PCB Legislation

07-20-2022

As we enter the second half of the year, it provides us all with a fresh opportunity to assess our goals, hit the refresh button if necessary, and recommit to finishing the year strong. How are you feeling about the rest of 2022? Here at IPC, we remain committed to educating policymakers and building lasting support for government policies that enable our industry to thrive. But we can’t do it without the help of our members. The more industry leaders like you are involved in our advocacy, the greater impact we have, and the more successful we are.

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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?

View Story

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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