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Apr 27 -- The Chief Statistician of the United States (CSOTUS) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was charged in the Executive Order (E.O. 14081), “Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy,” with improving and enhancing Federal statistical data collection designed to characterize and measure the economic value of the U.S. bioeconomy. The CSOTUS was also charged with establishing an Interagency Technical Working Group to recommend bioeconomy-related revisions for the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and the North American Product Classification System (NAPCS). The bioeconomy refers to a segment of the total economy utilizing or derived from biological resources, and includes manufacturing processes, technologies, products and services. These may encompass, wholly or in part, industries and products including fuel, food, medicine, chemicals, and technology. This Federal Register Notice (FRN) is a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on existing or potential bioeconomy-related industries and products that are established, emerging, or currently embedded in existing industry/manufacturing processes. To ensure consideration of comments on potential bioeconomy-related industries and products solicited in this notice, please submit all comments on or before June 12, 2023.

The bioeconomy refers to a segment of the total economy utilizing and/or derived from biological resources, and includes manufacturing processes, technologies, products, and services. These may encompass, wholly or in part, industries and products including fuel, food, medicine, chemicals, and technology. Advances in biotechnology and biomanufacturing play a substantial role in addressing a range of issues including health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, labor opportunities and economic growth.

E.O. 14081 directed Federal agencies to foster innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, supply chain resilience, and national and economic security. A critical component of this broad effort is an accurate measurement of the bioeconomy. Accurate data on bioeconomic manufacturing, industrial, and service activities may be used to assess growth across industrial sectors, inform Federal investments in research and development, guide private sector investments for scaling manufacturing efforts, assess emerging national and international economic opportunities, and foster the equitable distribution of health, food, and labor opportunities. Measuring U.S. industrial outputs and products provides critical information to a wide variety of private sector and Federal government stakeholders and requires accurate, reliable, independent measures that are also congruent with international measurements.

As part of its role as coordinator of the Federal statistical system under the authority of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3504(e)) (PRA), OMB, through the Chief Statistician of the United States (CSOTUS), must ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the system as well as the integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility, and confidentiality of information collected for statistical purposes. This statute also charges OMB with developing and overseeing the implementation of Government-wide principles, policies, standards, and guidelines concerning the development, presentation, and dissemination of statistical information. OMB maintains a set of statistical policy directives to implement these requirements and the NAICS is required by Statistical Policy Directive #8, North American Industrial Classification System: Classification of Establishments.
 
NAICS is a system for classifying establishments (individual business locations) by type of economic activity. Its purposes are: (1) to facilitate the collection, tabulation, presentation, and analysis of data relating to establishments, and (2) to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation and analysis of statistical data describing the North American economy. Federal statistical agencies use NAICS to collect and/or publish data by industry. It is also widely used by State agencies, trade associations, private businesses, and other organizations.  To ensure the accuracy, timeliness, and relevance of the classification, NAICS is reviewed every five years to determine what, if any, changes are required.

NAICS 2022 is the fifth revision since OMB adopted NAICS in 1997. In response to public proposals during the NAICS 2022 revision process, the ECPC considered the feasibility, value, and impact of including new industries for the bioeconomy. In its final set of recommendations to OMB, the Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC) did not include bioeconomy revisions in NAICS 2022, but indicated that NAPCS 2022 could be used to identify new products of the bioeconomy, such as biobased chemical inputs, and to inform future revision cycles on significant emerging industries of the bioeconomy.

The ECPC cites concerns regarding the availability of data for emerging bioeconomy industries due in part to disclosure considerations. “However, the ECPC recognized that economic, statistical, and policy implications can arise when the industry classification system does not identify and account for important economic developments. The ECPC acknowledged that balancing the costs of change against the potential for more accurate and relevant economic statistics will require significant input from data producers, data providers, and data users.” OMB accepted the recommendations of the ECPC, and in its final decision, OMB noted the “importance of continued research and stakeholder engagement on [the bioeconomy] toward maintaining a relevant and objective statistical classification standard.'' 

NAPCS is a comprehensive, market- or demand-based, hierarchical classification system for products (goods and services) that: (a) is not industry-of-origin based, but can be linked to the NAICS industry structure, (b) is consistent across the three North American countries, and (c) promotes improvements in the identification and classification of service products across international classification systems, such as the Central Product Classification System of the United Nations.

NAPCS, a product classification system, and NAICS, an industry classification system, are independent but complementary. A product produced by multiple industries carries the same title, definition, and code in NAPCS, regardless of its industries of origin. Products can be linked to the industries that produce them, and industries can be linked to the products they produce.

The Office of the Chief Statistician of the United States (CSOTUS) convened an Interagency Technical Working Group on the Bioeconomy (Working Group) to provide recommendations on bioeconomy-related revisions for NAICS and NAPCS to the ECPC. Agency participation was solicited from the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy (ICSP). The ICSP comprises 13 Principal Statistical Agencies, and 24 Chief Financial Officer (CFO) agencies as well as agencies that are NAICS data users/stakeholders. The Working Group members were nominated by their agency Statistical Official. The Working Group is comprised of career staff from Federal agencies representing OMB, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Small Business Administration, Bureau of Census, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Department of Defense.

The Working Group is charged with developing bioeconomy-related recommendations for revisions to NAICS and NAPCS that would promote accurate and reliable measurement of the bioeconomy, and maintain the integrity of federal statistical products. Upon completion, these recommendations will be provided to OMB and the ECPC. The ECPC will consider these recommendations in the development of proposed revisions for the 2027 NAICS and NAPCS.
 
The Working Group, through OMB, is seeking input on how to best identify, classify, and measure bioeconomy manufacturing, technology, and products, including those that are primarily or exclusively: (a) biobased, (b) components of traditional manufacturing processes, and (c) nascent biobased processes and products. Importantly, input should include information on how particular industries or products are linked to the bioeconomy, and where appropriate and available, evidence to support your input should be provided. This will afford the Working Group the opportunity to use existing evidence to inform its recommendations.

To restate, the bioeconomy refers to a segment of the total economy utilizing and/or derived from biological resources, and includes manufacturing processes, technologies, products, and services. These may encompass, wholly or in part, industries and products including fuel, food, medicine, chemicals, and technology.

Examples within these domains include: Energy (fuel, biomass), Agriculture (food, genetically modified plants), Health (medicine, genetic products), Manufacturing (biomaterials/chemicals, biobased industrial equipment), Technology (bio-related software, products) and Services (bio-based research and development, production, bio-based waste management, biobased resource management).

The Working Group will use these comments to inform their recommendations to OMB and ECPC as describes earlier.

Questions:

1. What information and what high priority concerns should the Working Group consider in making these recommendations for potential revisions to the NAICS and NAPCS that would enable characterization of the economic value of the U.S. bioeconomy?

2. Which quantitative economic indicators and processes are currently used to measure the contributions of the U.S. bioeconomy? Are these indicators reasonably accurate measures of the product components, scope, and value, of the bioeconomy; and, please explain why?

3. Which industries not currently measured as a unique classification in NAICS related to the bioeconomy should be considered? Similarly, which products not currently measured as a unique classification in NAPCS related to the bioeconomy should be considered? Please describe how a unique classification for such industry or product would meet the principles of NAICS and NAPCS. Please also include a description of the industry or product, with specific examples. Please also provide an explanation of how such industry or product would advance understanding of measuring the bioeconomy.

4. How might potential changes to the NAICS impact existing industry measurements, such as assessing changes in the economic output across current industries, time series measures, or data accuracy?

5. What role can the NAPCS fill in order to advance measurement of biomanufacturing and biotechnology?

6. Biobased processes and products that are embedded in traditional industries pose challenges for differentiation and measurement. Are there methodologies that can differentiate these bioeconomy processes from current manufacturing processes to enable measurement? If yes, please explain.

7. What potential bioeconomy measurement strategies might be considered other than revisions to and inclusion in the NAICS or NAPCS? For example, are there ways the Federal Government could better collect information to provide better measurement on biobased processes or products in current industries?

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-08841

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