US lawmakers bid to end US e-waste exports

A bipartisan bill has been tabled in the US that aims to ban the export of electronic waste in order to curb counterfeiting.

US Representatives Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) and Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) introduced the HR 3559 bill – also known as the Secure E-waste Export and Recycling Act (SEERA) – in order to “stop the flow of e-waste to China and other countries that regularly counterfeit electronics.”

SEERA would require domestic recycling of all untested, nonworking electronics from the US to end the flow of e-waste to counterfeiters and data thieves who could use the material to undermine national security, say the lawmakers.

“Under SEERA, the export of tested, working equipment will continue and is expected to grow, creating tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Americans,” they continue.

"Customs and Border Protection would be authorised to inspect shipments of electronic products intended for export, stop the shipment, and hold the shipper accountable.”

Recent prevention and detection measures imposed on e-waste in the US do not go far enough to curb the problem of counterfeit electronics that may re-enter the military and civilian supply chains, say Cook and Espaillat.

Just last month, US company owner Rogelio Vasquez was sentenced to almost four years in prison in a case that involved discarded integrated circuits – including chips made y Xilinx, Analog Devices and Intel – that were modified in China so they could be resold as if they were new.

The new bill has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for deliberation. Two similar bills were previously introduced by Cook in 2016 and 2017.

In 2010/2011 the US Department of Defense said it had identified upwards of a million counterfeit components in the military supply chain, while a report from market research firm IHS published in 2013 indicated there had been more than 12m reports of counterfeit electronics parts in the prior five years.

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