Delta Group Electronics Hosts IPC Video Productions

Delta Group Electronics in Albuquerque, N.M. recently hosted the production of two new IPC Training Videos: Handling During Electronics Assembly and How to Inspect Electronic Assemblies.

The week-long video shoot was arranged by Delta Group’s Director of Corporate Quality, Tod Cummins. Production coordination was provided by Irene Romero, QA Manager and Master IPC Trainer (MIT).

An additional IPC video, Wire Assembly Terminology Training, was videotaped last year at Delta Group’s facility in Rockledge, Fla. Bill Blinn, manufacturing project lead, provided the production coordination for the wire terminology video, and for segments of another IPC training video, Component Identification.

Tod Cummins commented, “Participating in these efforts has been very exciting and a most welcome experience. It has reinforced the understanding throughout the company of the effort that goes into these videos, garnering a higher respect for the training throughout the employee base. The newer generations coming into the industry are more accustomed to computer-based training and now expect this quality level of training to be provided day one. I see the IPC training videos as a critical piece of the future of electronic manufacturing.”

Delta Group Electronics uses IPC videos as baseline training for both new employees as well as refresher training for seasoned industry veterans. Founded in 1987, Delta Group Electronics Inc. is an electronics contracts manufacturer with five facilities — servicing the southern portion of United States from coast to coast. More information can be found at www.deltagroupinc.com.

IPC deeply appreciates Delta Group’s contribution to the educational efforts of our industry. Mark Pritchard, director of IPC video training added, “They made us feel completely welcome during production. Everyone we worked appeared to enjoy their acting experiences. It was a very productive and enjoyable experience for us as well.”

If your company would like to consider hosting the production of an IPC training video, we would welcome your invitation. Contact Mark Pritchard at MarkPritchard@ipc.org.

Mark Pritchard (camera operator), IPC, works with Irene Romero, Delta Group Electronics, on a shot for the new IPC video, Handling During Electronics Assembly.

IPC and AATCC to Host Joint Session at AATCC Committee Meetings

By Chris Jorgensen, director, IPC technology transfer

IPC and the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) will host a joint session, Get Hands-On With E-Textiles Standards and Test Methods, Monday, November 12, 3:00-5:00 pm (ET), prior to the AATCC Fall Committee Meetings.

During this session, IPC and AATCC will provide an overview of the standards projects of the IPC D-70 E-Textile Committee and AATCC’s various working groups. You will also learn how IPC and AATCC are working together and how to get involved with our activities.

The forum will include a standards and test methods brainstorming session for you to bring your organization’s ideas, needs and issues that can be resolved through industry standards. Anything is up for debate! IPC and AATCC staff will present your ideas to committee leadership as potential new projects by IPC D-70, AATCC or a joint standard working group.

Unique to any other standards meeting you will attend, AATCC will also have e-textiles materials and testing equipment available for attendees to get a hands-on experience with standards and test methods.

AATCC also invites all IPC D-70 Committee members to attend the RA111, Electronically-Integrated Textiles meeting or any other committee meeting that interests you.

Register for the IPC/AATCC joint session and AATCC committee meetings at https://www.aatcc.org/evnt/meetings/.

United States, Mexico and Canada Reach new NAFTA Deal

Late last night, just hours before the Trump Administration’s self-imposed deadline, the United States, Canada and Mexico came to agreement on a new trade accord to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The new deal is being referred to as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The leaders of the three countries expect to formally sign the USMCA on November 29, although it will not come before Congress for a vote until spring 2019.

The Administration has released the full text of the agreement, and they are beginning to issue fact sheets to explain its benefits to the American economy. In striking the deal, trade negotiators tackled thorny issues including dairy import restrictions, dispute settlement procedures, tax-free online shopping, and automotive rules of origin.

Trade experts warn that passage by Congress is not guaranteed, and the results of November’s midterm elections could determine its future. Lawmakers from both parties are expected to scrutinize the agreement’s provisions related to dispute settlement procedures, intellectual property protections, and labor and environmental standards. They will also seek to understand how stricter automotive rules of origin could constrain and complicate North American manufacturing.

We are continuing to review the agreement to evaluate its impact on the electronics industry, but our initial estimation is that this agreement appropriately modernizes NAFTA, allowing for greater integration and growth of the North American marketplace. Please watch for our more in-depth analysis soon.

The fast-track negotiation procedures utilized by the President include strict requirements and timelines. For more information about the timeline, please reference this informative blog post produced by Prime Policy Group, our Washington, D.C. lobbying firm.

Statement – John Mitchell
On behalf of the electronics industry, I want to extend my congratulations and appreciation to the governments of the U.S., Mexico and Canada for their many months of tireless negotiations on a new trilateral trade agreement.

The North American electronics supply chain has grown steadily over the last 25 years. In striking an agreement that modernizes NAFTA to address the current trade concerns of all three countries, USMCA promises to deliver another 25 years of sustainable, mutually beneficial trade.

The USMCA promises to spur even greater integration among the North American economies and strengthen the entire region’s stature as a formidable global manufacturing base. Improving the manufacturing competitiveness of North America, in turn, will unlock more economic growth and job creation, benefiting communities across the continent.

As always, IPC will be working to assess the deal’s likely impacts on our industry, and we will continue to advocate for our members’ interests as the debate goes forward.

IPC Solicits Member Feedback on Environmental Regulation

IPC is collecting member views on the ongoing European Commission public consultation on the Interface between chemical, product and waste legislation (CPW Interface). This EU initiative will have significant impacts on business through the supply chain as it looks at tracking substances of concern (which are yet to be defined), on top of ECHA’s upcoming database on SVHCs.

The consultation is based on the Commission Communication on the Interface, which was released in January 2018 as part of the Circular Economy mini-package. It aims to get stakeholders’ views on 4 issues posing obstacles to ‘the safe uptake of secondary raw materials’ and a number of related challenges: lack of information on substances of concern in products and waste, presence of substances of concern in recycled materials, difficulties in applying end-of-waste criteria as well as unclear application of EU waste classification methodologies.

To contribute your views to IPC, please contact Nicolas Robin, IPC’s Senior European Director, at NicolasRobin@ipc.org.

2019 European Elections Set to Shake-Up EU System

In May 2019 European elections will bring a large shake-up to the EU system. The composition of the new Parliament will be considerably different in terms of numbers and ideologies. Given these massive changes, this election will be decisive for the future of the EU. This infographic charts the twisted path to choosing a new EU government.

NAFTA Negotiations Continue as Deadlines Loom

Late last month, the U.S. and Mexico announced they had reached a preliminary bilateral agreement to update their portion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. discussions with Canada are ongoing, but senior officials have repeatedly suggested that they are prepared to move forward without Canada if necessary. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has again conceded this week that “large issues” remain and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that he won’t be rushed into a deal.

The Trump administration is racing to meet a self-imposed deadline to finish NAFTA negotiations with Canada by Sept. 30 in order to sign the deal before Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s last day in office on Nov. 30. Moving forward without Canada would set up a showdown with Congress—many members of which represent communities that rely on trade with Canada. Canada is the largest foreign market for U.S. goods. Trade experts also question whether a U.S.-Mexico bilateral deal is compliant with Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

We will provide updates as developments occur.

United States, Mexico Set to Unveil Two-way Deal on NAFTA

This is an update to August 21 blog item

In North America, the Trump administration prioritized one-on-one talks with Mexico, which produced a “handshake agreement” that was announced by President Trump today, August 27. Canadian negotiators are in Washington, D.C. this week to rejoin the talks, with the hope of reaching a trilateral deal very soon. Both Mexico and Canada have insisted that any new deal must be negotiated among all three partners.

Because U.S. law requires a 90-day notice to Congress before any trade deals can be voted upon, President Trump needs to notify Congress of any new trade deal no later than September 1, if he wants to complete all action before a new Mexican president takes office on December 1.

Details of the agreement reached by the United States and Mexico are scant. However, we do know the new agreement would require 75 percent of auto content to be made in North America in order to qualify for duty-free treatment; NAFTA currently requires 62.5 percent. The new agreement also would require 70 percent of steel, glass, and aluminum used in imported autos to come from North America. Additionally, a substantial portion of each vehicle would be required to be manufactured in a “high wage factory.”

IPC is open to a NAFTA 2.0 and is working to secure stronger investor dispute-settlement protections. Over the summer, IPC has been participating in congressional advocacy with other industry associations, underscoring the importance of the North American electronics market and supply chain. We will continue to monitor developments closely and share information with IPC members and industry.

TAX: Trump Administration Proposes Rules on Pass-Throughs, Expensing, Repatriation

In a series of steps to implement the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), the Trump administration recently proposed several implementing regulations.

Pass-Through Entities: On August 8, the U.S. Treasury issued proposed regulations defining the types of companies and professionals eligible to qualify as “pass-through” entities and receive a 20 percent income tax deduction. The rules provide guidance to address a variety of uncertainties, including how businesses that operate through multiple legal entities can aggregate those entities in order to take advantage of the 20 percent deduction without reorganizing themselves for tax purposes. The public will have 45 days to offer comments on the proposal.

Expensing: Also in August, the Treasury Department released proposed rules on full expensing. The accelerated cost recovery that was enacted under Section 168(k) of the TCJA lets companies claim full deductions for new equipment in the same year it is bought. Equipment put into service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023 is eligible, with an annual phase down of 20% each year thereafter. The IRS will be accepting comments on this proposed rule for the next 60 days. IPC is working with other industry groups to advocate for making this provision permanent.

Repatriation: The Treasury Department also released proposed regulations on how to calculate and report the repatriation tax created by the TCJA. Simply put, the regulation would apply a 15.5% levy on companies’ liquid assets (i.e. cash) overseas, and an 8% tax on everything else. Corporations would have up to eight years to pay the tax. The IRS will take public comment on this rule for the next 60 days.

Please contact IPC’s government relations team in Washington, D.C. if you have any questions or information to share on how these tax regulations would affect your company.

IPC Highlights Industry’s Concerns in Brussels, Ahead of IMPACT Europe 2018

In our ongoing efforts to represent IPC members’ interests in policy debates worldwide, IPC’s Vice President of Global Government Relations Chris Mitchell recently traveled to Brussels, Belgium, where he had a series of meetings with European Union policy makers, along with Nicolas Robin, IPC’s new senior director, Europe. Chris and Nicolas met with decision-makers from the European Commission, European Parliament, and Member State representatives to exchange views on core issues affecting IPC members. The visit helped advance preparations for this year’s IMPACT Europe, as well as strengthen relations with IPC members.

Chemical policy and skills at the heart of discussions

Topics of discussion included research into lead-free electronics and chemicals legislation. On these subjects, IPC advocates for smart environmental regulations that strike the right balance between risk, cost, and benefits. The European Commission is currently looking at the interface between chemical, product, and waste legislation, which could potentially result in the introduction of new requirements for the design of products as well as the tracking of certain substances throughout the supply chain.

Chris and Nicolas discussed these issues with Austrian MEP Paul Rübig, who plays a key role on these issues. IPC will continue the dialogue with Rübig and other MEPs to advocate for members’ concerns, particularly with regard to reducing administrative burdens.

Workforce skills was another important discussion topic, as it is becoming a pivotal issue for the electronics industry and a key pillar of IPC’s advocacy activities. Indeed, to mark its significance, this year’s IMPACT Europe will include a dedicated panel discussion on how the electronics industry can prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

Commission officials confirmed their emphasis on vocational training and education and presented the so-called “Blueprint for sectoral cooperation on skills,” an initiative to bring together business, trade unions, research, education and training institutions, as well as public authorities who develop curricula for selected sectors. These views were echoed by the office of the Romanian Permanent Representative, who will be leading the policy work of the Member States during the first half of 2019. Officials noted that they are examining incentives to encourage vocational training, and the separate issue of workforce mobility. IPC presented its ongoing education initiatives, including our Job Task Analysis Committee, which is a critical part of our efforts to close the skills gap.

Your opportunity to interact with EU officials on industry issues

Outside of the policy maker meetings, the Brussels outreach program was a great opportunity to strengthen links with IPC members with a presence in Brussels, including Airbus, Continental, Siemens, 3M, Intel and Rolls-Royce. IPC Europe is currently setting up a Government Relations Committee to help drive the organisation’s work on policy issues. Participation is open to all members, and those interested are invited to e-mail NicolasRobin@ipc.org to find out more.

The Brussels visit also helped solidify the program for IPC’s “IMPACT Europe 2018 – Empowering the EU Electronics Industry,” coming up on 28-29 November, during which we will be discussing our policy concerns with EU officials. Stay tuned for the full program and register now to speak directly with EU decision makers on issues such as environmental legislation, conflict minerals, and skills.

IPC Weighs in on Growing Trade Disputes

In recent months, the U.S. Government has launched several initiatives that are roiling the waters of international trade.

NAFTA: In North America, the Trump administration prioritized one-on-one talks with Mexico, which produced a “handshake agreement” that was announced by President Trump on August 27. Canadian negotiators are in DC this week to rejoin the talks, with the hope of reaching a trilateral deal very soon. Both Mexico and Canada have insisted that any new deal must be negotiated among all three partners.

Because U.S. law requires a 90-day notice to Congress before any trade deals can be voted upon, President Trump needs to notify Congress of any new trade deal no later than September 1, if he wants to complete all action before a new Mexican president takes office on December 1.

Details of the agreement reached by the U.S. and Mexico are scant. However, we do know the new agreement would require 75% of auto content to be made in North America in order to qualify for duty-free treatment; NAFTA currently requires 62.5%. The new agreement also would require 70% of steel, glass, and aluminum used in imported autos to come from North America. Additionally, a substantial portion of each vehicle would be required to be manufactured in a “high wage factory.”

IPC is open to a NAFTA 2.0 and is working to secure stronger investor dispute-settlement protections. Over the summer, IPC has been participating in congressional advocacy with other industry associations, underscoring the importance of the North American electronics market and supply chain. We will continue to monitor developments closely and share information with IPC members.

China: Meanwhile, IPC also continues to raise our members’ concerns over the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China. In addition to Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, the US Trade Representative has released three lists of Section 301 tariffs. These tariffs are punitive in nature, aiming to retaliate against China for what the U.S. regards as discriminatory technology transfer policies. List 1 has been finalized and went into effect on July 6th. The deadline for public comments has closed for List 2, and a final list will be released as early as this week. Public comments on List 3 are due by September 5.

The USTR has already established a process for applying for exclusions from the Section 232 tariffs and the first list of Section 301 tariffs. You can learn more about the process for 301 tariffs in the USTR’s Federal Register notice, which lays out procedures for securing an exemption from the 25% tariff. The USTR will consider requests based on the availability of that product outside of China, the severity of economic harm to U.S. interests, and the strategic significance of that product to Beijing’s “Made in China 2025” campaign.

IPC has been active throughout, soliciting feedback from members and submitting comments to the USTR on the proposed lists.

Meanwhile, China has said it may impose tariffs on an additional $16 billion in U.S. autos and energy products, and it has threatened to levy another $60 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. imports if President Trump goes through with his threat to impose 25% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. One research firm claims that “China’s $60 billion figure hits 56% of U.S. exports, including 85% of all electrical machinery and 75% of electronics.”

Some IPC members are reporting that they may be forced to move work they currently perform in the U.S. to other countries because of the tariffs. What about your company?

What You Can Do: IPC would appreciate your support in identifying the tariff codes your company or the industry uses to import goods from China to the U.S. and what the additional impact would be if USTR imposes 25% tariffs. Review the third list of affected goods, and let us know your reactions ASAP. IPC will be submitting comments to the U.S. Trade Representative by September 5.

For more information, listen to a recent IPC webinar on these trade disputes (IPC member login and password required) and how they could affect your company.