The Government Circuit: IPC is Ready for the Year of Advocacy Ahead


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Happy 2021! I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season. 

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.  

It is an exciting time to be involved in our industry, and we hope you’ll continue to remain engaged with us in 2021. We’re looking forward to building off our successes and securing even more victories for the electronics industry this coming year. 

U.S. Government Bolsters Security and Resiliency of Defense Electronics Supply Chain 

After an extended negotiation process and some last-minute roadblocks, the U.S. Congress successfully completed the annual NDAA process, which included pro-electronics-industry language sought by IPC. IPC is specifically encouraged by the inclusion of new restrictions on the sourcing of printed circuit boards (PCB) and assemblies for defense electronics. 

This provision is arguably the industry’s most significant legislative achievement ever and reflects our belief that every country should have greater access to secure and resilient supply chains for electronics. We are confident this legislation will bring greater resiliency and security to the electronics supply chain and reverse the shrinkage of the U.S. electronics manufacturing base. 

Meanwhile, in another win for taxpayers, defense readiness, and the electronics supply chain, Congress approved $10 million for research into the issues surrounding lead-free electronics in mission-critical applications as part of a larger year-end spending bill. 

These vital funds will support a collaborative research effort that will help ensure that mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain. IPC President and CEO John Mitchell recently expanded upon these issues further in an article featured in Defense News; give it a read if you haven’t already. 

We expect there to be a growing focus on the security and resiliency of electronics supply chains, a long-neglected but critically important segment of the electronics manufacturing industry. IPC will continue to be at the forefront of this discussion and to advocate for a five-year, $40 million investment in a public-private research and development (R&D) program, which industry experts believe would yield more than $100 million in U.S. defense savings per year and improve military readiness and overall innovation. 

If Your Company Makes or Imports Chemicals, Heads Up! 

Environmental regulations continue to be a top-of-mind concern for our members, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a busy January planned. If your company manufactures or imports chemicals in the U.S., then you need to review the pre-publication version of the proposed changes to the EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Fees Rule. Your initial feedback is needed by January 26. 

The proposed changes to this rule are important because, under TSCA, the EPA will have between 20 and 30 risk evaluations occurring in any given year; and even if the current list of such substances does not apply to your company, future lists may apply, and you may be obligated to pay at that time. IPC has been communicating with the EPA and other federal policymakers to underscore the need for commonsense reforms to the 2018 rule, and we are pleased that the proposed rule appears to make important and positive changes. Check out a new IPC blog for all you need to know about the TSCA Fees Rules. 

Meanwhile, there are less than 20 days to go on the EPA’s Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) period, which runs through January 29. The CDR rule requires manufacturers and importers of certain chemical substances listed under the TSCA Chemical Substance Inventory to report data to the EPA every four years. There are several new reporting requirements you should be aware of, including changes related to byproducts, exemptions; and an improved process for reporting co-manufacturing. Let us know if you have any questions or comments as your company goes through the process. 

IPC’s 2020 Success Stories 

The IPC Global Government Relations team expanded its advocacy efforts in 2020, helping further the competitive excellence and financial success of IPC members. With COVID-19 dramatically shifting the policy landscape last year, the GR team worked to advance both new and familiar policy priorities. In addition to the U.S. defense policy measures mentioned above, some of the other highlights include: 

  • Advocated for COVID-19 recovery packages. IPC supported reasonable liability protections for businesses, modified unemployment insurance bonus, Paycheck Protection Program and tax credits, and state and local government aid for essential functions.
  • Convened IMPACT Europe 2020, bringing a record number of IPC members together with European Union policy makers to learn about and discuss new policies affecting international trade, industrial strategy, environmental policy, and corporate conduct.
  • Fought for streamlining and clarifying of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chemical Data Reporting rules ahead of the 2020 cycle.
  • Advocated for industry interests in the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act Fees Rule and Risk Evaluations of 30 high-priority chemical substances.
  • Advocated for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement; proposed a North American Manufacturing Initiative to focus on coordinating pandemic response and strengthening the region’s manufacturing competitiveness.

Please let me know if you have any questions and suggestions for IPC advocacy this year. Together, we can make it our most successful year yet.

IPC APEX EXPO Goes Virtual; Registration Open 

Registration for IPC APEX EXPO 2021 is now open!

As a reminder, given ongoing COVID-19 health and safety concerns and continued restrictions for large gatherings and events in California, this year’s conference will be held March 8-12 and will take place in a safe, all-virtual format. As an added bonus, the sessions will be available to registered attendees for replay, providing a unique opportunity to take advantage of education for 90 days after the event.

To view the full schedule and exhibitor list, visit www.ipcapexexpo.org. IPC APEX EXPO will return to an in-person format in 2022 and will take place January 25–27, 2022 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Which Government Policy Issues Are You Concerned About? 

Our industry wins when you are active and engaged, and the success of our work depends on the active participation of IPC members like you. As you plan out your agenda for the start of 2021, consider letting us know where you stand on the issues so we can best advocate for you.

IPC has been conducting an ongoing member survey about the government policy issues that concern you most. We received a host of new responses in the past few months, and here are the updated survey results. When asking our members to identify their top areas of concern, a majority mentioned trade and tariffs (54%). A second tier of top issues are education and workforce skills (33%); incentives for research, development, and investment (33%); environmental regulations (31%); taxes (28%); and intellectual property protection (28%). Click here to take our five-question, five-minute survey on the issues that matter most to you as we kick off the new year. 

With your help, we can begin the new year in a strong position to advance our advocacy goals; there are many opportunities to do so. 

  • Stay informed on IPC advocacy issues by managing your e-mail preferences. By going to IPC.org and opting in to receive “Advocacy” updates, you’ll receive beneficial news to keep you informed and engaged in IPC's industry advocacy efforts.
  • Browse the IPC Advocacy page to learn more about our work advocating for the electronics manufacturing industry.
  • Join our Advocacy Team (The “A Team”) to send a message to your elected officials with a few easy clicks.
  • Host an elected official at one of your facilities. You can offer a (virtual) tour, a briefing, and/or a demo, as well as a chance for them to speak to your employees.

Our IPC GR team constantly works to grow the industry globally by informing policymakers and building support among them for policies and initiatives that strengthen our industry. We are your voice in the halls of government, but we rely on you to tell us what your concerns are so we can champion your issues and support your needs. Make 2021 the year you get more involved with our advocacy efforts. Just visit www.IPC.org/advocacy and find an issue you are passionate about to get started.

As we collectively look back at 2020, and look forward to 2021, we extend our gratitude to our members across the globe for your support of IPC and the electronics industry. Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous new year!

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

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