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Going green as we reboot the economy – Electronic Products & Technology

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Source: Enviropass

As you know, the COVID-19 crisis has badly hit our Canadian economy. Restaurants, bars, stores, offices, and even some so-called ‘non-essential’ factories have closed temporarily… and sometimes for good. The economy has to recover, as it did after the 1929 stock market crash and the 2008 economic crisis. Technologies can play a fundamental role in this, especially when it comes to exporting Canadian high-quality electronic devices. To this end, many markets, such as the European Union, China, or California, are continually updating and creating new product environmental laws. Most of these regulations are mandatory, therefore can’t be eluded when rebuilding an export-oriented economy.  Here are some of the latest ones.

Recently implemented regulations

Most electronic and electrical products contain hazardous substances. These substances are typically harmful to both our health and the environment, hence regulatory amendments and new laws to reduce the usage of these chemicals.

EU RoHS with 10 substances: The EU RoHS regulation, restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), has been modified multiple times. Since a significant amendment in 2019, a total of 10 substances, with the addition of 4 phthalates, are restricted in most EEE:

  • Lead (Pb) and its compounds
  • Cadmium (Cd) and its compounds
  • Mercury (Me) and its compounds
  • Hexavalent chromium (Cr 6+)
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
  • Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Di(2-exthylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

EAEU and UAE RoHS: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia (EAEU RoHS), as well as the United Arab Emirates (UAE RoHS), have recently enacted RoHS-like regulations, with deviations from EU RoHS.

REACH of 209 SVHCs: Four new EU REACH Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) were added in June 2020.

New substancesWhere used (examples)
VinylimidazolePaints, lacquers, surface treatment
MethylimidazoleAdhesives, plastic foams, metal products
Dibutylbis(pentane-2, 4-dionato-O,O’)tinAdhesives, sealants, thinners, paint removers, and other applications.
Butyl 4-hydroxybenzoateCosmetics, personal care products, pharmaceuticals

Among other things, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals) imposes the obligation to communicate any SVHC contained in a product, above certain thresholds.

Eco-design in external power supplies: Since the EU Directive 2009/125/CE on ecodesign requirements for energy-related products, various regulations have been impacting the following product categories:

  • External power supplies
  • Electronic displays
  • Electric motors
  • Light sources and separate control gears
  • Welding equipment
  • Power transformers
  • Household refrigerators and vending machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Washing machines

Eco-design dedicates to producing sustainable goods in terms of resources and energy. Eco-design assesses and seeks to limit the potential environmental impacts of a product throughout its life. Energy efficiency is an essential requirement of all EU eco-design regulations.

Resulting from Directive 2009/125/CE, the regulation (EU) 2019/1782 on External Power Supplies came into effect in April 2020, with energy efficiency targets, as illustrated below:

Po ≤ 49.0 WPo > 49.0 W
AC-AC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies0.21 W0.21 W
AC-DC external power supplies, except low voltage and multiple voltage output external power supplies0.10 W0.10 W
Low voltage external power supplies0.10 W0.21 W
Multiple voltage output external power supplies0.30 W0.30 W

More in the Pipeline

On top of the previous updates, some brand-new requirements are shaking the electrical and electronic industry.

Eco-design, again! Two new significant eco-design rules will come into force in 2021:

  • On Electronic Displays, under the regulation (EU) 2019/2021 which sets :
    • Energy efficiency rates in standby, on and off modes;
    • Marking of over 50 g plastic components; and
    • Design obligations for repair and reuse. This last requirement must include the availability of spare parts, their maximum delivery time, and access to maintenance information.
  • On Electric Motors, per the regulation (EU) 2019/1781, which also requires:
    • Energy efficiency targets three types of engines ranked according to their efficiency: IE2, IE3, or IE4. For every engine, a maximum value is established, depending on the number of poles in the motors.
    • Product information, which includes the efficiency level, the number of poles, the rates input frequency (Hz), and other eco-design details.

RoHS with 12 substances? On top of the ten above-mentioned restricted substances, seven have been under investigation for potential inclusion:

  • Beryllium & its compounds
  • Cobalt Dichloride & Cobalt Sulphate
  • Diantimony Trioxide (flame retardant)
  • Indium Phosphide
  • Medium Chain Chlorinated Paraffins (MCCPs)
  • Nickel Sulphate & Nickel Sulfamate
  • Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBP-A)

MCCPs and TBBP-A were recommended on April 27, 2020. If accepted, at least 12 substances may be restricted under RoHS, probably in 2023.

Keep an Eye Out

These product compliance requirements suggest that the world is betting on a greener economy.

Most recently, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands have joined forces to develop a circular economy. For instance, the three countries committed to hosting three events and discussing the benefits of a circular economy for the future in the context of climate change. The circular economy concept consists of constantly reusing and recycling the same materials. Both the eco-design and the reduction of hazardous substances in electronic products contribute to a more circular economy by enabling better recyclability rates.

Such product environmental initiatives will likely continue to expand. As a manufacturer, it is critical to monitor them, secure your access to markets, and even gain competitive advantage.

www.enviropass.ca

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Economic rebound slows as Statistics Canada says economy grew 3.0 per cent in July – Toronto Star

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OTTAWA – The pace of Canada’s economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic slowed in July, and maybe even more in August, Statistics Canada says, suggesting the country is in what experts described as a long, choppy path to recovery.

Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product grew by three per cent in July, matching the agency’s preliminary estimate and economists’ expectations, but below the 6.5 per cent recorded in June, and May’s 4.8 per cent bump.

Gains have been linked to the loosening of restrictions that forced non-essential businesses to close in March and April, but they haven’t been enough to haul the economy back to pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, Statistics Canada said the economy in July was about six per cent below its pre-pandemic level in February, even if some sectors like retail and real estate have recouped their losses and then some.

Looking at August, the statistics agency said growth likely continued albeit at a slower pace as it provided a preliminary estimate of a one per cent climb in GDP for the month.

“That’s suggesting the steam in the recovery is going away and so, this for me is suggesting that we might be moving from a quick rebound phase of the recovery to a more challenging phase,” said TD senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam.

The August figure will be finalized late next month.

The path of the recovery over the coming months will be tied to the path the pandemic takes, which could lead to rollbacks of reopening measures.

Rising case counts have prompted such calls as the country heads into what several public health officials say is a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The increase in COVID-19 infections, coupled with the August figure suggests the sharp rebound in the third quarter won’t carry over to the final three months of the year, said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

“Easing up on COVID-19 restraints fed into solid Canadian GDP gains in July and August, but the concerns now are whether we will pay for some of that greater openness,” Shenfeld wrote in a note.

The Conference Board of Canada said health measures and testing should prevent another full shutdown of economic activity earlier this year, but warned of localized lockdowns as one hurdle.

The pandemic is going to flatten the recovery curve for the next year at least, said Pedro Antunes, the organization’s chief economist.

“We’re going to be creating fewer jobs on a monthly basis going forward, we’re going to see the increases in economic activity or GDP being much more subdued in terms of their increases overall,” he said.

The Conference Board’s outlook expected the unemployment rate won’t fall back to its pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

Thanabalasingam said it could be early 2022 before before the economy gets back to where it was prior to COVID-19.

July’s GDP report from Statistics Canada noted that all 20 industrial sectors it tracks posted increases in July, with agriculture, utilities, finance, insurance and real estate sectors recouping losses suffered since the start the pandemic.

Manufacturing grew 5.9 per cent in July, following a 15.1 per cent expansion in June as more operations ramped up production, but still remained about six per cent below where it was pre-pandemic.

The hard-hit accommodations and food services sector posted a third consecutive month of double-digit increases, jumping 20.1 per cent in July.

Thanabalasingam said despite the bump, the amount of activity in the industry was about two-thirds of where it was in February, as more people went shopping and case numbers dropped.

“There’s still a very, very long way to go, even though they’re posting these strong growth rates,” he said.

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“My worry is that as caseloads continue to rise and some of these provinces think about rolling back some of those reopening measures . . . then is this as good as it could get for these sectors?”

The health care and social assistance sector rose by 3.7 per cent in July, as more doctors, dentists and diagnostic laboratories reopened in line with the rollback of restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2020.

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31.4 per cent spring slide for a U.S. economy likely to shrink in 2020 – CTV News

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WASHINGTON —
The U.S. economy plunged at an unprecedented rate this spring and even with a record rebound expected in the just-ended third quarter, the U.S. economy will likely shrink this year, the first time that has happened since the Great Recession.

The gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4% in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7% drop estimated one month ago, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The government’s last look at the second quarter showed a decline that was more than three times larger than the fall of 10% in the first quarter of 1958 when Dwight Eisenhower was president, which had been the largest decline in U.S. history.

Economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30% in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase, a 16.7% surge in the first quarter of 1950 when Harry Truman was president.

The government will not release its July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election.

While President Donald Trump is counting on an economic rebound to convince voters to give him a second term, economists said any such bounce back this year is a longshot.

Economists are forecasting that growth will slow significantly in the final three months of this year to a rate of around 4% and the U.S. could actually topple back into a recession if Congress fails to pass another stimulus measure or if there is a resurgence of COVID-19. There are upticks in infections occurring right now in some regions of the country, including New York.

“There are a lot of potential pitfalls out there,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services. “We are still dealing with a number of significant reductions because of the pandemic.”

In 2020, economists expect GDP to fall by around 4% , which would mark the first annual decline in GDP since a drop of 2.5% in 2009 during the recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

“With economic momentum cooling, fiscal stimulus expiring, flu season approaching and election uncertainty rising, the main question is how strong the labour market will be going into the fourth quarter,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

“With the prospect of additinal fiscal aid dwindling, consumers, businesses and local governments will have to fend for themselves in the coming months,” Daco said.

The Trump administration is forecasting solid growth in coming quarters that will restore all of the output lost to the pandemic. Yet most economists believe it could take some time for all the lost output to be restored and they don’t rule out a return to shrinking GDP if no further government support is forthcoming.

So far this year, the economy fell at a 5% rate in the first quarter, signalling an end to a nearly 11-year-long economic expansion, the longest in U.S. history. That drop was followed by the second quarter decline of 31.4%, which was initially estimated two months ago as a drop of 32.9%, and then revised to a decline of 31.7% last month.

The slight upward revision in this report reflected less of a plunge in consumer spending than had been estimated. It was still a record fall at a rate of 33.2%, but last month projections were for a decline of 34.1%. This improvement was offset somewhat by downward revisions to exports and to business investment.

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Economic rebound slows as Statistics Canada says economy grew 3.0 per cent in July – The Battlefords News-Optimist

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OTTAWA — The pace of Canada’s economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic slowed in July, and maybe even more in August, Statistics Canada says, suggesting the country is in what experts described as a long, choppy path to recovery.

Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product grew by three per cent in July, matching the agency’s preliminary estimate and economists’ expectations, but below the 6.5 per cent recorded in June, and May’s 4.8 per cent bump.

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Gains have been linked to the loosening of restrictions that forced non-essential businesses to close in March and April, but they haven’t been enough to haul the economy back to pre-pandemic levels.

Overall, Statistics Canada said the economy in July was about six per cent below its pre-pandemic level in February, even if some sectors like retail and real estate have recouped their losses and then some.

Looking at August, the statistics agency said growth likely continued albeit at a slower pace as it provided a preliminary estimate of a one per cent climb in GDP for the month.

“That’s suggesting the steam in the recovery is going away and so, this for me is suggesting that we might be moving from a quick rebound phase of the recovery to a more challenging phase,” said TD senior economist Sri Thanabalasingam.

The August figure will be finalized late next month.

The path of the recovery over the coming months will be tied to the path the pandemic takes, which could lead to rollbacks of reopening measures.

Rising case counts have prompted such calls as the country heads into what several public health officials say is a second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The increase in COVID-19 infections, coupled with the August figure suggests the sharp rebound in the third quarter won’t carry over to the final three months of the year, said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

“Easing up on COVID-19 restraints fed into solid Canadian GDP gains in July and August, but the concerns now are whether we will pay for some of that greater openness,” Shenfeld wrote in a note.

The Conference Board of Canada said health measures and testing should prevent another full shutdown of economic activity earlier this year, but warned of localized lockdowns as one hurdle.

The pandemic is going to flatten the recovery curve for the next year at least, said Pedro Antunes, the organization’s chief economist.

“We’re going to be creating fewer jobs on a monthly basis going forward, we’re going to see the increases in economic activity or GDP being much more subdued in terms of their increases overall,” he said.

The Conference Board’s outlook expected the unemployment rate won’t fall back to its pre-pandemic levels until 2025.

Thanabalasingam said it could be early 2022 before before the economy gets back to where it was prior to COVID-19.

July’s GDP report from Statistics Canada noted that all 20 industrial sectors it tracks posted increases in July, with agriculture, utilities, finance, insurance and real estate sectors recouping losses suffered since the start the pandemic.

Manufacturing grew 5.9 per cent in July, following a 15.1 per cent expansion in June as more operations ramped up production, but still remained about six per cent below where it was pre-pandemic.

The hard-hit accommodations and food services sector posted a third consecutive month of double-digit increases, jumping 20.1 per cent in July.

Thanabalasingam said despite the bump, the amount of activity in the industry was about two-thirds of where it was in February, as more people went shopping and case numbers dropped.

“There’s still a very, very long way to go, even though they’re posting these strong growth rates,” he said.

“My worry is that as caseloads continue to rise and some of these provinces think about rolling back some of those reopening measures . . . then is this as good as it could get for these sectors?”

The health care and social assistance sector rose by 3.7 per cent in July, as more doctors, dentists and diagnostic laboratories reopened in line with the rollback of restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2020.

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