The Government Circuit: Supply Chain Concerns Emerge as Global Issue

We are now over one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and I hope you and your company are feeling more optimistic for the year ahead. Here at IPC, we are encouraged by burgeoning global conversations to address the future of manufacturing through the lens of COVID recovery. Electronics are at the heart of the global economy, and they will be at the heart of the economic recovery. This is something IPC has been repeating over the past year, and governments across the globe seem to be taking notice. 

Please enjoy this monthly update on the latest government policy developments affecting electronics manufacturing. 

Biden Unveils Infrastructure Plan, Includes Manufacturing Focus
Here in the United States, improving domestic manufacturing is a core tenet of the new Biden administration, particularly amid the backdrop of the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. U.S. President Joe Biden’s wide-ranging infrastructure proposal presents opportunities to drive growth and resilience in electronics manufacturing. The package, called the American Jobs Plan, is set to invest in American manufacturing and high-technology industries to better compete in the global economy. The proposal also offers incentives for domestic production of critical goods such as semiconductors, batteries, and clean-energy technologies. 

Following that proposal, on April 9 Biden released the “skinny” version of his discretionary budget request for FY 2022, which highlights the priorities of the new administration. IPC is pleased to see proposed funding increases for vital workforce training, manufacturing, and research and development (R&D) programs. IPC looks forward to reviewing the administration’s detailed budget request, which is expected in the coming weeks. 

Meanwhile, a bipartisanship team in the U.S. Congress also introduced legislation that would create an office of manufacturing and industrial innovation policy in the White House. IPC supports this effort, which is consistent with our call for an interagency manufacturing policy lead in our policy agenda sent to the Biden administration. Focused, high-level leadership is critical as the U.S. seeks to develop and implement a robust manufacturing strategy. 

IPC Encourages ‘Holistic Approach’ to Electronics Supply Chains
Going deeper on that theme, IPC is arguing that electronics must be included in any discussions on shoring up, and investing in, strategic supply chains. In comments submitted last month to the U.S. Department of Commerce, IPC and the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE) affirmed that the U.S. Government must increase its support of semiconductor manufacturing but also the entire electronics ecosystem to maintain its global competitiveness. We urge the administration to take a holistic approach to technology and electronics, not just focus on a few links in the supply chain. Visit ipc.org/blog for more information on the ongoing supply chain discussions. 

Our Government Relations (GR) team is also actively engaging on a bipartisan bill recently reintroduced in Congress to bolster U.S. technology leadership and competitiveness. IPC supports the Endless Frontier Act, which will invest in key technologies that are critical to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness. Electronics manufacturing applies to many of the key technology areas identified in the bill. 

Advancements in semiconductor technology have always been intricately linked to advancements in electronics manufacturing, such as printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication and assembly, but the interdependence has grown even greater with developments in microelectronics. We will continue to make this case to Congress. 

Europe’s Recovery and Long-Term Future Depends on Electronics
Over in Brussels, IPC recently released a marquee report outlining the role our industry can play in Europe’s COVID-19 recovery. The study illustrated how the electronics industry will be instrumental to Europe’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and its long-term green and digital ambitions. 

According to the study, the electronics manufacturing industry accounted for €301 billion in production value in 2019 and directly impacted €3.8 trillion in European gross domestic product (GDP). However, today, the European Union accounts for only around 5% of the overall global production of PCBs and 10% of electronics manufacturing services (EMS), which are both key elements of the electronics manufacturing ecosystem. 

The report comes ahead of crucial, upcoming decisions by the European Commission, which is releasing a revised industrial policy strategy soon, and by EU Member States, where COVID recovery plans are being developed for potential financial support from the commission. Read more about the study here

IPC’s Latest Economic Trends Report
The global economic recovery from COVID-19 has continued with varying success. According to data from the latest IPC Economic Outlook Report, the U.S. recovery appears to be accelerating and further diverging from Europe, which is likely to see flat to negative growth in the first quarter. 

The strengthening recovery in the U.S. will help other countries as well, including Mexico, Canada, and China. The overall global economy shrank by roughly 3.8% in 2020 but is expected to expand by 6% in 2021. 

Here in the U.S., a key area of growth is the labor market. We should see the economy add jobs back at a fast clip in the next few months as vaccination rates steadily climb and businesses look ready to hire. IPC continues to urge policymakers to implement long-term, strategic investments to ensure a lasting, broad-based recovery. 

IPC Launches Industry Initiative to Provide Guidance on ESG Practices
IPC recently unveiled a new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) for Electronics Initiative to develop guidance for electronics manufacturers on an industry-specific approach to ESG practices and to develop goals that the industry can work together to achieve.  

As part of this initiative, IPC has engaged electronics industry leaders and ESG experts to develop and distribute guidance on key aspects of reporting that demonstrate a commitment to ESG principles. This guidance is intended to help the industry meet ESG goals by providing industry-specific definitions, benchmarks, self-assessments, and recommendations. 

IPC and its members take seriously our industry’s commitment to build electronics better. To build electronics better, manufacturers must do so with awareness and responsibility to ESG factors, fully integrating them into their business core. IPC’s initiative will weave together existing and new industry activities to support engagement on a range of societal concerns, including circularity and our renewed efforts towards eco-design and raw materials management. 

OSHA Emergency Standard on COVID-19 Expected Soon
Meanwhile, environmental regulators have remained busy on several fronts in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. 

On April 26, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review. The ETS, which will address workplace exposures to COVID-19, is a separate effort from other OSHA regulatory activity, such as its new COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP). The timing for the review is unclear, but if and when the ETS is released, it is expected to take effect immediately. Read more about the ETS in on IPC’s blog. 

EC Leaps Forward in Sustainability Reporting Requirements
In Europe, the commission recently took a leap forward in strengthening sustainability reporting for companies through the adoption of a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). The proposal confirms the upcoming introduction of European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) and comes as part of a broad package of initiatives on sustainable finance. IPC will continue to track and advocate for a reporting environment that is workable for electronics manufacturers. Read more about the CSRD and the implications for our industry on IPC’s blog. 

Interested in Chemical and Product Regulations in Asia?
And on the Asia-Pacific front, South Korea is the latest country to undergo an updated deep dive by our environmental, health, and safety (EHS) experts in 2021. Notably, an amendment of the Act on the Registration and Evaluation of Chemicals (K-REACH) was recently adopted, tightening the supervision of downstream users and sellers of chemical substances. This is just one of our nine white papers on the history of chemical regulations, current regulatory systems, and anticipated trends in the region. 

Elsewhere in Asia, according to a recent IPC survey, government regulations on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues, especially those involving toxic substances and originating from the U.S and Europe, are a principal concern for IPC’s members in the region. If you are an industry expert and would like to participate in future educational events on environmental regulatory topics, or if you have EHS-related questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Help Shape Factory of the Future Migration
As always, there are plenty of opportunities for you to help IPC shape government policy leveraging your expertise. Most recently, we invited 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 me also remind you that all the content from our recent virtual IPC APEX EXPO is available online through June 13. From my perspective, APEX exemplified how the electronics industry has responded to the coronavirus pandemic: with resiliency, agility, and an unwavering commitment to build electronics better. Check out my top five takeaways from this year’s conference in my previous I-Connect007 article if you missed it.

IPC’s success in advocacy depends on your support and engagement. Please contact Alison James at alisonjames@ipc.org if you’d like to be more involved in our EU advocacy; or contact me or visit our Advocacy Center to get involved in our U.S. advocacy. On behalf of everyone at IPC, we appreciate you taking the time to share your voice and experience. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions for IPC advocacy.

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

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2021

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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