The Government Circuit: IPC—Which Government Policies Worry You Most?

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? 

If you’re like most IPC member company executives, you may be optimistic about the economic recovery but concerned about current political debates and how they might affect your company. Our government relations (GR) team is working hard to educate policymakers and advocate for our industry, and I can tell you this: The more our IPC members are involved in our work, the greater the impact we have and the more successful we are.

Check out our recent blog regarding the strategies and tactics we utilize to impact government policy, as well as the key issues we’re working on today, and how you can be involved in advocating for our industry.

Read on below for some of the highlights of our work around the world over the past month.

IPC Advocates for the Entire Electronics Supply Chain
In Washington, D.C., the new administration of President Joe Biden is pursuing several initiatives that may create opportunities to revitalize U.S. electronics manufacturing.

Most recently, the Biden administration concluded its 100-day supply chain review in early June, and IPC was pleased to see it address the importance of the electronics supply chain.

The results of the 100-day review were covered in an 11-page White House fact sheet and a 250-page report, and among its major recommendations were steps to strengthen U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and ensure the availability of minerals critical to electronics manufacturing. We also identified multiple passages that reflect IPC’s input and the need to bolster the entire electronics supply chain, even if it was not the primary focus of the report. As a follow-up, representatives of IPC, Calumet Electronics, Jabil, and TTM met on June 16 with U.S. Commerce Department officials to further educate them on these issues; we are encouraged that the administration is committed to further dialogue and policy action.

In case you missed it, I recently discussed the Biden administration’s efforts to bolster the U.S. electronics supply chain in a recent interview with SupplyChainDive. In short, I said the time is now for the United States make a broad-based commitment to electronics manufacturing.

IPC’s GR team is also actively engaging on legislation to bolster U.S. technology leadership and competitiveness. The U.S. House of Representatives passed two bipartisan bills in June centered on countering China’s influence by bolstering U.S. science and technology research. The National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act and the Department of Energy Science for the Future Act together will invest $128 billion into the NSF and U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Also in June, the U.S. Senate approved its own tech and competitiveness legislation, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which includes the Endless Frontier Act. Unfortunately, as of this writing, these bills do not specify electronics manufacturing as an area for increased investment, but we are asking lawmakers to include more explicit support for the sector. 

IPC’s Latest Economic Trends Report
Meanwhile, the global economic recovery from COVID-19 is accelerating as vaccination rates increase and countries fully open their economies. The global economy is expected to expand 6.1% in 2021 and a further 4% in 2022, according to IPC Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac.

The growth outlook is driven in part by the upward trend in vaccination rates and the downward trajectory of COVID. In Europe, in the first quarter, the economy shrank less than previously expected, and the growth outlook is improving. However, outsized risks remain. The highly contagious delta variant is spreading and has the potential to throttle recovery efforts. Of greatest concern, the COVID variants are likely to spread in emerging nations before they can achieve widespread vaccination, suggesting that growth rates could diverge between emerging markets and developed economies.

Be sure to check out IPC’s most recent Monthly Economic Outlook Report[1], including new data on U.S. and European economic growth; employment, consumer and manufacturers’ sentiment; manufacturing capacity utilization; and end markets for electronics.

Having an Impact: DoD’s CMMC Review to Address Compliance Cost Concerns
As IPC has urged, compliance costs for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be a focal point of the U.S. Defense Department's (DoD) Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) review, Federal News Network reported[2]. IPC recently made the case in an industry report and provided input to a congressional hearing that CMMC compliance costs could drive many SMEs, including IPC members, out of the defense industrial base.

In fact, fewer than half of IPC survey respondents felt they were “very” or “extremely” familiar with CMMC compliance, and 52% said that the DoD has not provided industry with sufficient guidance. Our report also demonstrates that DoD has underestimated the compliance costs. Read a recent statement on the issue from IPC President and CEO John Mitchell.

Environmental Regulators Remain Busy in the United States
As things stand now, it’s primed to be a busy summer at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to a recently released Office and Management and Budget (OMB) regulatory agenda, the EPA plans to publish its interim final rule on persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals this September. This move follows the EPA’s final risk-management rules for phenol, isopropylated, phosphate (3:1) (PIP (3:1)), one of the five PBT chemicals, which IPC and other industry groups submitted comments on. IPC will continue to work with the EPA and advocate for realistic risk management strategies.

Meanwhile, on June 10, the EPA announced the pre-publication of a proposed rule requiring all manufacturers and importers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to report information about goods containing the chemical substance. PFAS has a history of use in electronics, and IPC plans to engage with the electronics industry to review the proposed rule and provide comments during the expected 60-day comment period.

And closing out what was a busy month, the EPA announced on June 30 that it will be reviewing the first 10 risk evaluations of certain chemical substances to ensure all populations are protected from unreasonable risks associated with these substances, several of which are used to manufacture electronics. IPC will continue to monitor the EPA’s progress in this review and any subsequent risk management actions.

Stay tuned to our weekly newsletter for more ways to get engaged in our environment and health advocacy efforts.

OSHA Releases Emergency Standard on COVID-19
On June 10, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released regulatory language for the long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19. The rule will only apply to the healthcare industry and will not apply to manufacturing. In addition to the ETS, OSHA updated its guidance on preventing COVID in the workplace to provide recommendations on protecting unvaccinated workers. Your team should check this out, but the updated guidance is not a standard or regulation and creates no new legal obligations.

Interested in Chemical and Product Regulations in Asia and Europe?
Environmental regulatory developments are also continuing in the Asia-Pacific region and in Europe.

On May 26, experts from IPC and Mayer Brown presented at a Chemical Watch webinar on the latest updates to China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology (MEE) Order 12 regulation, its legal implications, and the potential impacts on the electronics industry. Heng Li, an attorney with Mayer Brown, indicated that we should expect to see more chemical legislation in China “in the near future.” Read IPC’s full recap of the webinar on our website. And be sure to check out IPC’s nine white papers on the history of chemical regulations, current regulatory systems, and upcoming trends in the Asia-Pacific region for more.

Meanwhile, IPC submitted comments to the European Commission’s public consultation on its Sustainable Products Initiative, a key component of the European Union’s Circular Economy Action Plan. We believe that any sustainable product legislation should focus on final electronics products with the greatest environmental impacts and the greatest potential for circularity improvements. The initiative will revise and expand the Ecodesign Directive and will address the presence of harmful chemicals in electronics and ICT equipment, among other products. Read IPC’s full comments on our website; then plan to join IPC and the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) for our final joint webinar on eco-design for a circular electronics economy. Register for the webinar here.

Help IPC’s Advocacy Team Help You!
Finally, to our U.S. IPC members: please take a minute to visit our online action center and register to participate in upcoming campaigns to educate the U.S. Congress on our key issues. It’s fast, easy, and important.

We welcome your questions and suggestions about our industry advocacy efforts and, most of all, we welcome your participation. Experience proves that the more our members are involved, the greater impact we have, and the greater success we all enjoy.

Will you join us?

References

  1. IPC Monthly Economic Report, June 2021, ipc.org.
  2. Pentagon CMMC review aims to address small biz cost concerns, ‘restore trust’ in assessment processes, Federal News Network, June 24, 2021.

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

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2021

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

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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

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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

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