Washington -- Strong domestic
demand for optoelectronics products has allowed manufacturers to shift production
from defense goods to commercial items to meet that demand according to a
U.S. Department of Commerce study
released today. Critical Technology Assessment of the U.S. Optoelectronics
Industry also points to promising growth in Asian markets.
Optoelectronic products include lasers, displays for small electronic devices like cellular phones and pagers, some components for lighting devices and digital cameras, and a variety of other goods.
The U.S. optoelectronic industry appears to be maintaining its technological leadership and believes that it will continue to do so in the years ahead. Overall, most of the companies surveyed for the study were optimistic about their long-term competitiveness. More than a third expect even better results in the future. Employment in the industry continues to grow annually by about least 3 percent, although employers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire enough workers with sufficient technical training. Plant expansion increased 44 percent in 1996-97 and 83 percent in 1997-98, due largely to an array of new products now reaching the marketplace.
As part of its responsibility to ensure the U.S. maintains a strong defense industrial base, the Commerce Department worked with industry and other government agencies to evaluate the industry's long-term health and competitiveness, growth trends, and emerging markets. Data was obtained by direct survey of many U.S. component and equipment manufacturers, distributors, and resellers involved in the optoelectronics industry between October 1997 and April 1998.
One potential concern is that 63 percent of the companies surveyed rely on at least one foreign-made component or piece of equipment to manufacture their end product. Numerous respondents indicated dependency on foreign materials, such as optical glass, where there is not a readily available domestic source. The lower cost of many foreign components is a strong driving force as the U.S. industry strives to remain competitive.
To receive the executive summary of the study by fax, please call 202-482-5953 or fax your request to 202-482-3195. The executive summary and the press release are also posted on the BXA website at www.bxa.doc.gov. Bound copies of the report are available from BXA's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202-482-2721.
In April of 2002 the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) changed its name to the Bureau of Industry and Security(BIS). For historical purposes we have not changed the references to BXA in the legacy documents found in the Archived Press and Public Information.