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The recent partnership announced by the U.S. and Canada is a welcome acknowledgement of the urgent need to support the American printed circuit board industry. The Presidential determination of printed circuit boards as essential to national defense under section 303 of the Defense Production Act is welcome news, and achieves a 2023 goal of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America (PCBAA).
The $50 million identified is a down payment on what must be a larger and sustained effort by the U.S. government to rebuild this critical manufacturing sector. The American printed circuit board industry was decimated by offshoring over the past 20 years, dropping from almost 30 percent of the world’s supply to only 4 percent today. The U.S. depends on other nations—primarily in Asia, and more than half from China.
“We are eager to work with the Administration to make the best use of this and advocate for subsequent funding for this long-overlooked industry”, said Travis Kelly, Chairman of the Printed Circuit Board Association of America and President and CEO of the Isola Group. “The costs of creating new facilities or upgrading existing printed circuit board facilities can run into hundreds of millions. Just as legislation and policies were created to support semiconductors, the U.S. government needs to invest in our nation’s future by providing support for printed circuit boards.”