OIDA's Assessment of the U.S. Election
Many people have asked "What do OIDA members think about the outcome of the U.S. presidential election?" There is no clear answer, in part because the membership is not monolithic, and in part because it's so difficult to know how this will play out for our community. And individuals also express personal views that may not represent the positions that they may take as a business.
OIDA provided an assessment of the outcome of the election in a special newsletter last month to members and in this posting in OSA's Optics & Photonics News. Highlights are:
The U.S. government is currently operating on a "continuing resolution"—a temporary extension of the previous budget until Congress can agree on a more permanent one for 2017. The new Congress will have an opportunity to make immediate changes to the budget in early 2017 when the extension to the extension expires. The task of passing the (late) 2017 budget as well as drafting and passing the upcoming 2018 budget will be time-consuming at the least. And the uncertainty hanging over the current fiscal year is enough to dampen spending and delay projects.
- "Uncertainty" is the word that most summarizes the post-election outlook. That said, candidate Trump was most consistent in his positions on U.S. unilateralism: immigration, trade, and foreign partnerships. For Trump's positions on technology and innovation policy see this summary from ITIF.
- There are many issues that could directly impact optics and photonics companies, spanning taxes and repatriation of profits, R&D funding, H-1B visas, trade agreements and tariffs, "Buy America" policies, deregulation, and much more. How this affects you depends on where you sit. Small companies may have the most to gain, while the large companies that dominate revenue might see the most disruption. Some policies might simultaneously help and hurt companies that move materials and parts around a global supply chain.
- Is this like Brexit? No. Brexit is more contained to the U.K. and Europe, but could stay in place for years and decades. See our comments in the July OIDA newsletter and in Optics & Photonics News.
- The supertanker ship of state called the U.S. federal government doesn't make sharp turns. The direct impact to the optics and photonics industry will take time to play out.
- A rule of forecasting is that we tend to overestimate short term impacts and underestimate long term impacts.
OIDA's advocacy efforts are more important than ever. OIDA will be monitoring the changes in Washington, D.C. and advocating for our members where it is needed. For questions contact email@example.com.
Successful Chinese Acquisitions, and Failed Ones Too
China has been gaining confidence in executing mergers and acquisitions of companies outside of China. Many of these companies are familiar names, but some prominent deals have been nixed by U.S. regulators. And the new U.S. president, Donald Trump, may be about to make this all more interesting.
Why is China doing more acquisitions? First, many Chinese companies are cash-rich. With the substantial overinvestment in recent years in China, business opportunities are perceived to be better outside of China, leading companies to look outside for deals to invest their cash. Chinese companies are also becoming more sophisticated and more confident to manage international deals. Tactically, acquisitions can be a way to transfer key technology to the buyer, or can be an investment for its own sake.
There were several acquisitions of optics and photonics companies in 2012 and 2013. There are fewer lately, but there have been rumors of buyers looking for deals. While much of the investment has been into real estate, some familiar and not so familiar names of companies acquired are listed below:
However, several transactions were not approved by U.S. government regulators, or dropped facing the risk of rejection. Some notable ones are listed here:
- Kuka — maker of robots for machining
- Omnivision — fabless supplier of image sensors
- Lenovo (computing acquisitions from IBM in 2005 and 2014, and the Motorola handset business from Google in 2014)
- Chicago Stock Exchange
- Club Med
- GE Appliances
- Smithfield Food
- AMC Theatres
Capital will continue to flow into the U.S. as long as it is a good global destination for investment or there is valuable technology for transfer. This is complicated by changing currency exchange rates, however. Will Chinese currency fall in value to the U.S. dollar, making U.S. investments less attractive and Chinese investments more attractive? Or will the threat of a falling yuan do the opposite in the short term? And what about regulators? Can they keep up if transactions increase in frequency? Or facing increased scrutiny, will Chinese companies respond by making more limited investments outside of the purview of regulators? Time will tell.
- Aixtron — vendor of MOCVD coating tools
- Lumileds — LED maker
- GCS — III-V wafer foundry
- Fairchild Semiconductor — optocoupler maker, now owned by ON Semiconductor
- Micron — semiconductor manufacturer
- Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Final Rule on ITAR Category XI — Seeking Input and SITAC Volunteers
In case you missed it in the November OIDA newsletter, on 11 October, the Obama Administration released the final rule of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) for Category XII. Category XII encompasses fire control, laser, imaging, and guidance equipment that the United States considers critical to national security. The rule is part of the Administration's Export Control Reform effort. Category XII of the ITAR was the last category considered due to the complexity of the areas it covers.
Despite this rule being final, the Department of State has indicated that a notice of inquiry (NOI) will be issued later this year seeking public input on technical criteria that would establish a bright line between military and commercial and civil systems. During the previous proposed rules, the criteria could not yet be identified.
We urge companies to carefully review the rule to find out how it will impact your organization.
The Department of Commerce Sensors and Instrumentation Technical Advisory Committee (SITAC) is forming working groups comprising industry and research university representatives that will assist in identifying and developing proposals related to improving the U.S. export control system in the areas of Detectors and Cameras, Lasers, and Lenses and Optics. If you are interested in getting involved in these efforts please contact Laura Kolton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome New Industry Members
'Tis The Season to Take Advantage of Exclusive Member Discounts at 2 Key Events This March
As an OIDA member you have exclusive discounts to attend two events held in conjunction with OFC this March in Los Angeles, CA. Mark you calendar not to access this benefit of membership when registration opens in January. When you apply your member discount to our already-low Early-Bird rate, you will save even more. Register by 27 February to save big on these two must-attend events: OIDA Workshop on Manufacturing Trends for Integrated Photonics and the OIDA Executive Forum.
OIDA Executive Forum Program Schedule Announced
20 March 2017 at OFC in Los Angeles, CA, USA
OIDA Executive Forum is the premier event for leaders in optical networking and communications. Held annually in conjunction with OFC, it provides you with an exclusive opportunity to hear insider perspectives in an uncensored environment, while participating in high-level networking. The program is now available online. Mark your calendar to attend. Registration opens in January.
Congratulations Newly Elected OSA Fellows
We extend our congratulations to the following 2017 OSA Fellows representing the industry sector. Fellows are elected based on their significant contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics and are selected based on several factors, including specific scientific, engineering, educational and technological contributions, technical or industry leadership in the field as well as service to OSA and the global optics community. Learn more.
- Raymond G. Beausoleil, Hewlett Packard Labs, United States
- Walter F. Buell, The Aerospace Corporation, United States
- Adrian Carter, Nufern, Australia
- Aref Chowdhury, Nokia Corporation, United States
- Peter de Groot, Zygo Corporation, United States
- John J. Degnan, Sigma Space Corp, United States
- Po Dong, Nokia Bell Labs, United States
- Jeff Hecht, Hecht Associates, United States
- Richard B Holmes, Boeing Company, United States
- Hong Liu, Google, United States
- Rüdiger Paschotta, RP Photonics Consulting GmbH, Germany
- David E. Spence, Spectra-Physics, United States
- Kathleen Tse, AT&T Corp, United States
Submit an OSA Senior Member Designation Request
If you are a well-established professional within the optics and photonics industry, you are encouraged to request an OSA Senior Member designation in recognition of your experience and accomplishments. Senior Member Requests are due no later than 28 February 2017. Visit www.osa.org/seniormember to learn more.
Don't be Left in the Dark. Stay Connected. Stay Informed.
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|OSA Industry Development Associates Committee
Thank you to the volunteers who oversee the programs and services available to the Industry Community.
| • Alex Fong,
Gooch & Housego, Chair
• Jean-Michel Pelaprat,
A2E Partnership Inc.
• Henrik Skov
• Simin Cai,
|• John Dexheimer,
• James Fisher,
• Fred Leonberger,
• Claudio Mazzali,
| • Mike Mielke,
• Martin Seifert
• Costel Subran,
• Christoph Harder,
Harder and Partner,