The electronics industry is calling on U.S. President Joe Biden to address urgent industrial base vulnerabilities and deliver on the promise of the CHIPS Act by prioritizing domestic development of printed circuit boards (PCBs) and integrated circuit (IC) substrates under Title III of the Defense Production Act.
Three industry groups – IPC, the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE), and the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA) – delivered a letter to President Biden, calling on him to issue a presidential determination on the matter.
“For more than 20 years,” the letter states, “experts in and out of government have warned that the erosion of U.S. PCB capabilities and capacity would compromise national and economic security. These warnings have proven all too accurate, as today, the U.S. share of global PCB production has fallen from 30 percent to 4 percent, making the nation precariously reliant on a global supply chain that is itself in turmoil.”
The Biden administration’s year-long assessment of the information and communications technology (ICT) supply chain highlighted the critical importance of PCB fabrication and assembly in electronics manufacturing and recommended that government programs like Title III be used to bolster the strength of U.S. PCB manufacturers.
Supporting the entire electronics ecosystem is also “critically important to the implementation of the CHIPS Act,” the letter continues. “Presently, there are no U.S. manufacturers that can produce the volume of IC substrates needed to support defense and commercial needs.”
Increasing domestic chips production without bolstering regional development and manufacture of cutting-edge PCBs and IC substrates risks lengthening and slowing the semiconductor supply chain, because many of the chips made in Arizona or Ohio will need to be sent to other countries for component packaging and assembly into finished products.
“A presidential determination on PCBs and IC substrates would be a key step toward rebuilding the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry,” Mitchell added. “The Executive Branch and Congress must continue to support – through long-term policy and funding – the entire ecosystem that drives and sustains innovative, resilient, and secure electronics manufacturing.”