Remember that amusement park game called "whack-a-mole" in which the player struggles to whack a series of appearing and disappearing rodents? That is what my job feels like some days.
For example, only a few days after IPC gathered at the White House to endorse the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and release a study documenting its benefits to the electronics industry (whack!), the Trump administration announced its intention to impose new tariffs on Mexican imports in an effort to force unrelated action on immigration (whack!).
Here are some other issues that we are whacking away at on behalf of the industry.
Electronics Leaders Interconnect for Advocacy in D.C.
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. Here’s a complete recap. To monitor or participate in our follow-up activities, please contact me.
US-Mexico-Canada Deal Would Be Boon for Industry; New Tariffs, Not so Much
If your company does any business across the United States, Canada, and/or Mexico borders, you’ll want to check out IPC’s newly released report on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and its potential benefits for the electronics industry . The report documents the scope and complexity of the North American electronics industry and makes the point that building a stronger U.S. industry requires a stronger North American supply chain.
However, the prospects for improved North American trade were dimmed by the possibility that the U.S. Government might impose new tariffs on Mexican imports as a protest against immigration problems at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“New and escalating tariffs would make it harder and more costly for electronics companies and their customers to operate in the United States and add to already heightened economic uncertainties,” said IPC President and CEO John Mitchell in a statement . “Placing tariffs on Mexican imports would essentially be a new tax on U.S. companies that have invested in North America and would weaken their ability to compete globally in an industry notorious for thin margins.”
Export Controls in Flux: What You Need to Know Now
U.S. export control rules have changed significantly over the last decade, and more changes are expected over the next few years as policymakers tackle the treatment of emerging and foundational technologies and respond to geopolitical developments.
To help electronics manufacturers comply with U.S. export control rules and stay abreast of regulatory developments, IPC recently held three training workshops in California, Illinois, and Virginia with the California and Virginia events sponsored and hosted by TTM Technologies.
Featured speaker Gary Stanley—president of Global Legal Services PC and one of the nation’s top legal experts on export controls—gave an in-depth presentation that covered International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) on cybersecurity with a focus on printed circuit boards and electronics. Read Gary Stanley’s top tips on export control compliance  and let us know if you are interested in additional information.
Continuing and Technical Education Grants May Get a Raise
Back on the U.S. domestic front, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to provide $1.3 billion for the Perkins Basic State Grant program through which states distribute money to career and technical education (CTE) programs. The figure for the fiscal year 2020 would be $47 million above the FY19 enacted level. The bill must be approved by the full House and reconciled with a Senate version before it becomes law. IPC supported reauthorization of the Perkins CTE program in 2018, and we’re building relationships with state CTE programs . Contact Ken Schramko for information on our education and workforce policy agenda.
“Green Wave” in EU Elections May Bring Industrial Policy Changes
Voters in the European Parliament elections last week turned out in the highest numbers in years (over 50%) and shook up the political establishment . The center-right and center-left parties lost seats; the Green parties gained many seats, especially in France and Germany; and the far-right had impressive results in France and Italy but no breakthroughs elsewhere. Overall, the results suggest a broadly pro-EU parliament but a more fragmented majority with stronger liberal and green factions.
We can expect an impact on key policy areas, including industrial policy and trade, where the Greens will look to make their mark. Check out the official seat projections  and the 10 key takeaways compiled by Interel, our partner agency in Brussels . In the coming weeks, we will look more closely at how the makeup of the new European Parliament will impact the electronics industry. Reach out to me for any questions or concerns.
EU Seeking Input on Lead Issues
The European Chemicals Agency has issued a call for evidence from stakeholders regarding occupational exposure limits for lead (Pb) and its compounds . The call is open until June 30 and will influence the development of agency proposals expected later this year. If you would like to know more and/or contribute your knowledge, please contact Kelly Scanlon.
We Invite Your Input and Participation!
Our success depends in large part on the guidance and support we receive from IPC members. If you’re a member of IPC and want to be in the loop on our government relations activities, you can opt in to receive advocacy updates. If you are not an IPC member (or you’re not sure), please send a note to email@example.com, and our staff will add you to our email list.
See you here again next month!
Connect With Us
- IPC. “Strengthening Interconnections: The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Electronics Industry,” May 2019.
- IPC. “New U.S. Tariffs on Mexican Imports Would Harm U.S. Electronics Companies and Their Customers,” June 3, 2019.
- Schramko, K. “Export Controls in Flux.”
- IPC. “Electronics Industry Thanks U.S. Congress and President Trump for Enacting Bill to Advance Workforce Education.”
- Euronews. “Voter Turnout Rises for First Time Ever in EU Elections, Breaking 50%.” May 28, 2019.
- European Parliament News. “Election 2019: Updated Seat Projection for New Parliament,” May 26, 2019.
- Steel, R. “10 Takeaways From the EP Elections,” Interel.
- ECHA. “Occupational Exposure Limits: Call for Comments and Evidence.”
Chris Mitchell is IPC’s VP of global government affairs and can be reached at ChrisMitchell@ipc.org.