Fake or counterfeit electronic components continue to flood the U.S. supply chains, recently the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held hearings on this issue, based on investigations that counterfeit electronic components had found their way into Department of Defense supply chains and in turn into devices and components that were installed in military equipment.
The Senate hearing spoke of investigations that have been performed showing that the false electronic parts were coming from China. During the investigation the U.S. Senate contacted the Chinese embassy requesting access to China to investigate its findings and asked for more information from the Chinese government. The Chinese government however denied any access and information, citing that the outcome could be hurtful to the U.S. – China relationship. Chairman to the Senate of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin said "they (the Chinese government) have it backwards, they have the ability to stop this counterfeiting", "They’re going to have to stop it or they’re going to pay a heavy price if we start inspecting all of their parts that are coming into this country", Levin stating, that like some imported products in the U.S., a process could be put in place to inspect every electronic component coming from China and the cost of the inspections would be on the shipping companies.
Throughout the hearing the senators described some of the processes involved in the creation and manufacturing of counterfeit products, putting an emphasis on that fact that a lot of the production comes from China processing electronic waste (e-waste) that it receives from many countries, the largest supplier of e-waste to China is the U.S.
The fact that the biggest producer of counterfeit electronic components (China) is getting its biggest supply of electronic waste from the U.S. outlines both the problem and the solution. Rather than the U.S. government putting pressure on the Chinese government to take a stand on counterfeiting production within its borders, the U.S. can look at how it deals with its electronic waste.
One solution could be to stop shipping electronic waste to China altogether, but this would in turn jeopardize local U.S. jobs and the recycling industry. Another solution could be to process the electronic waste to a point where it is not able to be used in counterfeiting production, rather than shipping raw electronic waste that is still largely intact. Once the e-waste is processed to a point that makes it useless to the counterfeiters it can then be shipped to China where it could be processed correctly as e-waste and not used for other purposes.
The U.S., rather than expecting other countries to cooperate by taking measures within their own borders the U.S. can take the initiative and stem the supply of products that are being used in the production of counterfeiting components, by attacking part of the problem at its real source would in turn promote change in other countries.