Let’s Put Our Chips on the Table

by

As we slowly emerge from the shock of COVID-19 and realize that this will remain in the fabric of our lives for the foreseeable future, there have been recent developments and actions from the highest level of government to bolster our economy and protect national interests and innovation. 

These Executive Orders and proposed bills are in direct response to the fragility of our supply chain.  No more should we depend on a select few to provide core products that power our economy.

While the President introduced tariffs to stimulate fair trade with China, new-found loopholes have begun to dent the armor and economists consistently debate the equity and longitudinal efficacy of such policies.

Is there a sure-fire cure as we turn the economy on? 

Maybe not. 

However, as I will further detail, The Executive Order on Securing the United States Bulk-Power System and the bi-partisan introduced CHIPS for America Act (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) can only strengthen our domestic electronics and industrial manufacturing sectors.

You may have read my thoughts in our “Chris’s Corner,” seen the monthly Aurora Circuits Newsletters, and come across our blogs, which generally follow a familiar theme: Let’s rebuild American manufacturing. 

We do not beat this drum out of spite or isolationism; rather, the slow exodus of manufacturing in this country has not just affected raw numbers.  American grit, innovation and other non-quantifiable nouns that found a home in our lexicon are slowly eroding from our consciousness.  We did not become a global hegemony based on a service economy.  Those are facts.

My heart wants to embrace the notion of globalism, fair trade, and honest business relationships with international firms, but we need to be treated fairly and our industry needs to regain its strength.

For now, the President’s Executive Order prohibits the purchase and installation of any foreign manufactured equipment destined for our power grid.  This was introduced as a national security, economic and foreign security measure.

We need to collectively use this to our advantage and build up our capabilities to meet these current and future demands in the power industry.  Sometimes we need to lead the charge and inform our end users about governmental orders like this and keep their feet to the fire (albeit, a friendly one), mentioning our willingness to partner with them on their projects and maintain peace, security and stability in our hemisphere.

When we view the proposed CHIPS for America Act legislation, a bi-partisan committee has clearly seen the damage of a narrow supply chain when it comes to the electronics manufacturing sectors in the US.  The legislation deems that semi-conductor manufacturing, research and design are critical for our “innovation economy”; the exact ideals we have been introducing the past few months with our blog posts and newsletters.

It is not just me, a circuit board manufacturer in the Midwest—the highest levels of government recognize that the ability to craft, invent and innovate are critical to keep pace with the global economy.

Now, I am not here to self-promote (it’s no secret that semi-conductors are placed on circuit boards) but to inform that all US electronic manufacturers and CMs should stay abreast of this type of legislation and bring it to the attention of our collective trade organizations and local representatives.  If we use this as the tip of the spear, we can implement change and continue the migration back to our shores.

 

Link to the CHIPS bill:

https://www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/6/bipartisan-bicameral-bill-will-help-bring-production-of-semiconductors-critical-to-national-security-back-to-u-s#:~:text=The%20CHIPS%20For%20America%20Act%3A,and%20phases%20out%20in%202027.

Link to the Executive Order:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-securing-united-states-bulk-power-system/

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