Senior executives of 26 electronics manufacturing companies from across the United States are calling on the U.S. Congress to support robust funding for reinvigorating the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing sector.
In a pair of letters sent to the heads of the Appropriations Committees and Defense Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate, the executives urged that $100 million be allocated in Fiscal 2024 to implement President Biden’s recent “presidential determination” under Title III of the Defense Production Act that rebuilding the PCB sector is critical to U.S. national security.
The funding also would advance the goals of the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to ensure the autonomy and resiliency of the U.S. supply chain for semiconductors and advanced electronics.
“An FY 2024 appropriation of $100 million from the Defense Production Act account would represent a meaningful first step in addressing the industrial base vulnerabilities related to PCB fabrication and semiconductor packaging. Making these investments is critical to the technological edge that is the hallmark of the U.S. defense industrial base,” the letters say.
PCBs are as integral to electronics as semiconductor chips, their better-known partners. They are the physical platform upon which microelectronic components such as chips and capacitors are mounted and interconnected. Electronic systems cannot function without PCBs.
However, according to “Leadership Lost,” a report published by IPC, the United States “has lost its historic dominance in the PCB sector.” Since 2000, the U.S. share of global PCB production has fallen from over 30% to just 4%, with China now dominating the sector at around 50%. Any loss of access to non-domestic sources of PCBs would be “catastrophic,” the report said.
A 2022 report by the Commerce Department noted, “PCBs are essential for the electronic functions of ICT hardware as well as for a wide array of automotive, defense, and medical devices. [But] In the past 20 years China has overtaken the U.S. as the global leader in PCB manufacturing and sales.” A 2018 Commerce Department report characterized the PCB sector as “dying on the vine.”
Click here to read more about the presidential determination.
Publisher: PCB Directory