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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared on August 18 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) cannot force public companies to declare whether their products may contain “conflict minerals.”
The 2-1 ruling by the Court of Appeals upheld their April 2014 finding that stayed part of the reporting requirements because they violate free speech. The ruling still largely upholds the majority of the SEC’s conflict minerals rules, which went into effect last year. Companies still must conduct due diligence to try and track the origins of minerals including tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten and file reports to the SEC with their findings, but they are not required to state whether or not the products are deemed “conflict free.”
The decision on Tuesday was the second time that the three-judge panel has reviewed the regulator’s conflict minerals rule. The panel issued the same findings In April 2014, but the SEC asked for a re-hearing, after the U.S. appeals court later upheld another federal regulation requiring companies to label the origins of meat. In Tuesday’s ruling, the court found that the meat labeling case is distinct from the conflict minerals rule. The court also questioned whether the SEC’s rule would truly help diminish the humanitarian crisis, saying such an impact is “entirely unproven and rests on pure speculation.”
An SEC spokeswoman said the agency is reviewing the decision. The agency still has the right to appeal yesterday’s ruling.
Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
In this follow-up to his recent interview on the Q4 2022 outlook, Shawn DuBravac, IPC chief economist, provides an update on the incoming supply chain for EMS providers. Naturally, this conversation centers on component availability, where the supply crunch is easing, and by how much. It doesn’t seem we’ll be seeing any across-the-board relief for some time to come, but Shawn’s higher-altitude perspective brings insight to your daily planning.
Chris Peters, USPAE
Events of the past two years have clearly demonstrated the value of strong trading relationships. When materials become constrained, as in the recent microchip shortage or any of the pandemic-driven supply chain snafus, the companies that have those materials have a choice to make. Which customers will be put at the front of the line, and which will be placed at the rear? Too often, company executives assume that since they are a large buyer, they automatically will be prioritized when supplies are constrained. Research has shown that this is not always the case, and that assumption can leave a company in a weakened position.
Barry Matties and Andy Shaughnessy, I-Connect007
IPC Mexico has been growing for the past few years, and it’s no wonder: Mexico has become a major hub in the world of PCB manufacturing, spurred in part by reshoring as companies pulled work back from China during the pandemic. As the country’s maquiladoras thrived, IPC began expanding the Mexican educational and training operations, and the group recently named Lorena Villanueva as director of IPC Mexico. Andy Shaughnessy and Barry Matties recently spoke with Lorena and IPC Vice President of Education David Hernandez about IPC Mexico’s growth, as well as the office’s plans to provide PCB manufacturers the training resources they need to succeed.