2023 Was a Landmark Year for IPC in Government Policy

By Chris Mitchell, IPC Vice President, Global Government Relations

In the spirit of reflecting on the year just passed and looking ahead to the new year, here are the highlights of IPC’s government policy advocacy efforts in 2023.

While it’s a bold statement to make, I would venture to say that 2023 was one of IPC’s most successful years ever in having a positive impact in the halls of government. The scope and scale of our collective accomplishments are a new “high water mark,” laying the groundwork for even more success in the years to come.

Just look at all the progress on these items that IPC and its members have been pushing for years:

  • The “Silicon-to-Systems” Approach: In Q1, the U.S. Government launched the “CHIPS for America” program, including IPC-proposed commitments to devote some CHIPS Act funding to other parts of the electronics ecosystem, including printed circuit boards (PCBs), IC substrates, and advanced packaging. U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reiterated the need for an ecosystem approach on several key occasions, and in November, the Biden administration released a “Vision for the National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program” (NAPMP), including roughly $3 billion to drive U.S. leadership in advanced packaging. In September, the U.S. Government and private-sector stakeholders including IPC co-hosted a CHIPS Research and Development Standards Summit, focused on identifying priorities for relevant standards activities and enabling a diverse, standards-capable workforce.
  • Tangible Funding and Support: IPC’s advocacy of the entire electronics ecosystem is beginning to pay off in tangible funding and support for our industry. For example, IPC members TTM and Calumet Electronics each announced major investments in production of advanced technologies (IC substrates and UHDI, respectively) backed by state and/or federal government authorities. In December, IPC subsidiary U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE) selected seven companies out of 25 finalists to receive a combined $10 million for research and development of cutting-edge commercial technologies with defense capabilities. And on another track with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, USPAE announced it is developing a new business model that could support advanced PCB manufacturing growth through services, workforce development, and research.
  • PCBs: After months of IPC advocacy, U.S. President Biden issued a “presidential determination” that greater domestic production of PCBs is critical to national security. A bipartisan team in Congress reintroduced their PCB Act to reinforce the effort. We’re continuing to advocate for more resilient, trusted, and secure defense electronics supply chains in all nations.
  • Workforce Development: In November, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) approved IPC’s National Program Standards of Apprenticeship – the first-ever in the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry – in a move designed to expand the skilled workforce for this strategically vital industry. The DOL’s action affirms that IPC’s Registered Apprentice programs are recognized nationally and provide valuable, hands-on experience with a defined pathway to secure, well-paying careers. Six companies – ASMPT, Calumet Electronics, Flex, Microboard, Out of the Box Manufacturing, and TTM Technologies – have endorsed the apprenticeship initiative to the DOL, signaling their interest in launching programs within their companies.
  • Sustainability in Electronics: Acknowledging all the efforts underway in all parts of the world to encourage greener, more sustainable economies, IPC this year launched a Sustainability for Electronics Leadership Council and several Action Groups; and we published a white paper on the key sustainability issues facing our industry.
  • PFAS Bans: Meanwhile, we rallied the industry to face the prospect of partial or full bans on PFAS chemicals, and we joined with allies in submitting comments in those proceedings in Europe and the United States.
  • Electronics in Europe: The European Institutions in April reached agreement on the European Chips Act and in November launched the Chips Joint Undertaking (Chips JU), the public/private body that will manage chips research, development, and innovation (R&D&I) projects at the EU level. IPC maintained a fruitful, ongoing dialogue with the European Commission, and together with partners and stakeholders we submitted a report with recommendations to bolster Europe’s PCB and EMS sectors.
  • EU Reporting Burdens: IPC urged the European Commission to reduce the reporting burden on electronics manufacturers in the European Union, responding to the EC’s call for evidence on the requirements that cause the most administrative burden. IPC will continue to engage with the European Commission to reduce administrative burdens linked to reporting requirements by at least 25%.
  • Industry Thought Leadership: In our role as the voice of electronics manufacturing, IPC released major reports on IC substrates; the European PCB and EMS sectors; and sustainability in electronics design and manufacturing, not to mention our regular economic outlook reports and industry sentiment surveys.
  • New Faces: Over the course of the year, IPC welcomed several new faces in its Washington office. Richard Cappetto, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives, is our new senior director for North American government relations; Michelle Mermelstein is the new senior director of media engagement; Nyron Rouse is the new director of government grants and strategic funding initiatives; and Kate Koger is our new public affairs coordinator. The rest of the team is Kelly Scanlon, lead sustainability strategist; Alison James, senior director of European government relations; and yours truly, Chris Mitchell, VP of global government relations.
  • Member Input: The IPC GR Committee has been rejuvenated with the addition of several new members, and IPC hosted an EMS Summit to gather more input and policy priorities from that key sector.

We welcome you to join us. In 2024, the IPC GR Team will continue to advocate for you, your company, and the entire industry on all these issues and more. Our efforts may include meetings, calls, and letters with government officials; official comments in regulatory proceedings; and educational events, reports, social media posts, and media coverage.

We need and welcome your participation in any of this important collective work. Here’s how you can stay informed and involved:

We thank you for your support and look forward to making more progress in the months ahead.

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