WASHINGTON – Because the automotive industry is experiencing disruptions in global supply chains, including a semiconductor shortage one trade association, which emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hopes to avoid deja vu.
“Now our first public policy issue is to pass a competition law that goes through Congress,” said Anne Wilson, senior vice president for government affairs at the Association of Engine and Equipment Manufacturers, which represents original equipment. and auto parts suppliers in the United States
This month, Congress held its first meeting of the conference committee, which was tasked with discussing a final bill on competitiveness approved by both chambers. The Senate adopted his version of the bill in June 2021, after which the House left a similar bill in February. The main focuses of both bills are to improve the US competitiveness with China and to develop semiconductor production.
Both versions also include $ 52 billion to strengthen domestic semiconductor production and research – a key provision with the support of major industry groupsincluding MEMA.
The association insists that Congress pass a bipartisan bill on innovation and competition by July 4th.
“It’s not the only thing we’re talking about with members of Congress,” she said, “but it’s definitely the most important thing for us this year.”
The 67-year-old Wilson met with reporter Audrey LaForest at the Washington office of MEMA to discuss the association’s latest advocacy efforts. Here are the edited excerpts.
The question: The first monthly MEMA “Spring into There is a propaganda campaign. You mentioned the competition bill. What else are you discussing?
A: The impact of the supply chain crisis on the whole industry. One of the things that is lost in the debate is the impact it has had on some of our small suppliers, the Tier 2s and Tier 3s. If the OEM is forced to cut production – whether it slows production or closes the shift – and then Tier 1s make changes to their own production schedules, which is what Tier 2 and Tier 3 do, they should do the same, but they usually don’t so much room to turn. At the same time, when production grows again, they need to be ready in order to start this production, and this has added a huge load for these smaller suppliers.
What was the “victory of propaganda” during the Biden administration? Have problems?
There are many things that the Biden administration does well. They really tried to be the leader in tapping on CHIPS [Act] financing. [Commerce Secretary Gina] Raymond, in particular, worked very well with our members and tried to understand how they could support it, and the White House did very well. They understand what is happening in the ports. They understand the dilemma that this puts domestic production as a whole. This was a really strong point of our work with the administration. We continue to work with them on the workforce for the future and how we retrain and retrain workers for this transition that we are all experiencing. This is a very difficult issue because much of this training takes place locally.
Our friends are very excited to see how the Biden administration is working on its view of zero-emission vehicles. As we move towards 2030, we hope they will consider a range of zero-emission technologies rather than just focusing on battery-powered electric vehicles.
I think we still need to talk to the Biden administration on trade issues. Our members are committed to relocating and transferring jobs to manufacturing in the US and North America in general. But there will be some components that will not be manufactured in the US. We would like to see a conversation in which we talk about how we are simultaneously improving jobs in the US and how we can improve our ability to compete internationally.
What about the upcoming by-elections and plans to electrify the industry?
Many of our members understand a few things; one of them is the investments that car manufacturers make in electrification. It’s a different conversation than it was four or five years ago, and the real pressure is being put on them to make plans, to make those plans meaningful and to make those plans successful. If the federal government decides to go the other way, I think they will understand what the business community is saying: “We are making the investments we need to make sure we see the end.” We can see changes in the curve, but I don’t think we’ll see a reversal of the whole plan.
Talked to MEMA Senator Joe Manchina Democrat from West Virginia?
We are constantly talking to Senator Manchin’s office. I think people will be amazed at the number of things we negotiate. We did not take a position on the tax credits for EV that were in Build Back Better. We have members who have clients who are union objects. We have members who have clients who are not union objects. As we move forward, part of the challenge will be where to get the rare earth elements and raw materials that will be needed? We need to take Canada and other places to be able to do this, and I think we want to make sure we work with as many of our partners as possible to move forward, and it may take another look at this EV tax credit but as a trade association, we did not take a stand on it.
Car emissions and fuel economy standards are there became more stringent at Biden. How does this affect your members?
We have pretty much supported the standards until 2026 and the changes made by the Biden administration. I think now that we’re looking at 2027 and beyond, we really need to put together some challenging new challenges and roadmaps. Our members from the passenger side, in particular, have really expressed a desire for the Biden administration or any administration to allow the use of a range of technologies to help with some of these standards.
Another thing we are doing is to get the vendor industry ready for this turn? What are you doing to make sure suppliers who produce something for the internal combustion engine plan to continue production? I think you see from the biggest suppliers that they are largely ready to switch. The question is, how fast? And if there is this major investment from the federal government in charging stations, manufacturing and retrofitting, you will see many of the largest suppliers willing to work with their customers to make that leap. But it brings this whole supply chain. If we have not learned anything in the last few years, we need to understand that the fragility of the supply base is real – be it baby mix, wiring harnesses in Europe, semiconductors – and we need to think about the consequences. Just as we don’t want to leave consumers, we also don’t want to leave the workforce.