Biden invokes Defense Production Act for printed circuit board production

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau hold a news conference, in Ottawa

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday invoked the Defense Production Act to spend $50 million on domestic and Canadian production of printed circuit boards, citing the technology's importance to national defense.

Printed circuit boards are incorporated into missiles and radars, as well as electronics used for energy and healthcare.

Without presidential action under the act, "United States industry cannot reasonably be expected to provide the capability for the needed industrial resource, material, or critical technology item in a timely manner," Biden wrote in the memo.

"I find that action to expand the domestic production capability for printed circuit boards and advanced packaging is necessary to avert an industrial resource or critical technology item shortfall that would severely impair national defense capability," Biden said.

The move would speed up contracts, said Franklin Turner, a government contracts lawyer at McCarter & English, "by streamlining and prioritizing the procurement processes for these critical technologies, which are used in a variety of defense theaters around the world, including the current conflict in Ukraine."

Industry groups had called for such a move by Washington last year, saying there was not enough domestic production needed to support the U.S. electronics manufacturing industry.

The Defense Production Act ruling also calls for more "advanced packaging" that allows multiple devices to be packaged and mounted on a single electronic device shrinking them and making power use more efficient.

(Reporting by Katharine Jackson, Ismail Shakil and Mike Stone; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)