IMPACT Europe 2019: IPC Members Call for Pro-manufacturing Policies to Strengthen the Competitiveness of the European Electronics Value Chain

Representatives of electronics companies from across Europe gathered last week in Brussels to call on European policy makers to ensure the right policy and regulatory environment to stimulate innovation in the electronics value chain and boost its competitiveness in Europe.

Held annually, IMPACT Europe is our premier annual advocacy event in Brussels, giving IPC members the opportunity to engage directly with policy makers on key policy and legislative initiatives affecting their business. This year’s discussions focused on some of the most pressing challenges for the electronics industry: the future of EU industrial policy; planned changes to chemicals rules; expected activity on responsible sourcing of minerals; ongoing interest in addressing the skills gap; and new priorities in the area of international trade.

The event kicked off with a private roundtable and a reception at the European Parliament, where IPC members had the opportunity to speak with Members of the European Parliament Łukasz Kohut (Poland) and Dragoș Pîslaru (Romania) about the upcoming renewed Industrial Policy and Skills Agenda, both expected to be published by the Commission in March 2020. Attendees also heard from the Senior Policy Advisor of the Renew Europe group Joost Hermans about upcoming priorities in international trade, including the defense of multilateralism, the need for an agreement on digital trade, and the group’s support for ensuring that human rights and environmental provisions in free trade agreements are enforceable. IPC’s policy priorities for the new legislative term were shared by IPC CEO and President John Mitchell, as well as Carsten Salewski of Viscom and Chair of IPC’s European Government Relations Committee.

The next day started with a panel discussion on EU chemicals policy. Kelly Scanlon, IPC’s EHS policy and research director, highlighted the association’s investments in data collection and research to inform policy making. Two representatives of the European Commission – Elena Montani of its environmental department (DG Environment) and Gert Roebben of its industry and small business department (DG GROW) – discussed the much-anticipated European Green Deal and underscored the need for science-based rules and definitions, innovative financial schemes, public-private knowledge sharing, and educational initiatives. Raj Takhar of Assent Compliance gave the participants a sneak preview of a forthcoming IPC report on supply chain traceability regarding substances of concern. The report explores the need for a more holistic and consistent approach to identifying and reporting on chemicals use.

Felicia Stoica of DG GROW’s Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Systems Unit then gave a keynote speech on the Commission’s plan to renew its over-arching industrial policy. The EU industrial policy is wide-ranging, covering trade, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, investment, innovation and public procurement; it is also intended to become an enabler for the European Green Deal. Convergence and synergies with the EU digital policy will also be maximized, including links to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. IPC representatives stressed that every link in the European electronics manufacturing chain is fundamental building block in every EU industrial priority, and as such the industry’s strategic significance should be recognized and incorporated into planning.

During the last session, Zora Mincheva of the Commission’s DG TRADE presented the status of implementation of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation. Chris Mitchell, IPC’s vice president of global government relations, shared two exciting developments at IPC on this issue. First, balloting was recently completed on revisions to IPC-1755, a data exchange standard; and earlier this year, IPC joined the European Partnership for Responsible Minerals (EPRM) as part of its continuing efforts to help IPC members navigate the complex challenge of responsible minerals sourcing. Julian Lageard of Intel and Ken Matthysen of International Peace and Information Service (IPIS) provided an update on the status of EPRM from the perspectives of supply chain actors and civil society.

Participating member companies included Apple, Assent Compliance, BAE Systems, Continental, Dell Technologies, MED-EL Elektromedizinische Geraete Gesellschaft, IBM, Intel Corporation, Panasonic, u-blox, and Viscom.

To all who participated, thank you for your active engagement and for helping to make this event a success! We will be in touch with follow-up activities.

To those of you who missed this opportunity but would like to learn more or become involved in IPC’s EU advocacy efforts, please contact Alison James, IPC’s senior director, Europe at AlisonJames@ipc.org.

View the photo galleries from IMPACT Europe Day One and Day Two.

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