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.