Federal agency launches effort to improve data on the bioeconomy

By Erin Voegele | May 22, 2023

The White House Office of Management and Budget has opened a public comment period as part of a federal effort that aims to improve how to identify, classify and measure bioeconomy manufacturing, technology and products, including biobased fuels, chemicals and materials.

The OMB on April 27 issued a request for information (RFI) on behalf of an Interagency Technical Working Group on the Bioeconomy, which was convened by the Office of the Chief Statistician of the United States. The effort relates to an Executive Order issued by President Joe Biden in September 2022 focused on biotechnology and biomanufacturing.

As part of that Executive Order, CSOTUS was tasked with improving and enhancing federal statistical data collection designed to characterize and measure the economic value of the U.S. bioeconomy. CSOTUS was also directed to establish an interagency working group to recommend bioeconomy-related revisions for the North American Industry Classification System and the North American Product Classification System. The effort considers the bioeconomy as the segment of the total U.S. economy utilizing or derived from biological resources, including manufacturing processes, technologies, products and services. These may encompass, wholly or in part, industries and products including fuel, food, medicine, chemicals and technology.

The RFI explains that it is essential that the federal government is able to accurately measure the bioeconomy, as data on bioeconomic manufacturing, industrial and service activities can 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.

NAICS and NAPCS are independent but complementary classification systems. NAICS is a system for classifying individual business locations by type of economic activity. It is primarily used by federal agencies to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. It is also widely used by state agencies, trade associations, private businesses and other organizations.

NAPCS is a market- or demand-based classification system for goods and services that is not industry-of-origin based, but can be linked to the NAICS industry infrastructure. The system is consistent across all three North American countries and promotes improvements in the identification and classification of service products across international classification systems.

The working group convened by CSOTUS 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, according to the RFI. Upon completion, these recommendations will be provided to OMB and the NAICS’s Economic Classification Policy Committee. The ECPC will consider these recommendations in the development of proposed revisions for the 2027 NAICS and NAPCS.

The working group is seeking input from stakeholders on how to best identify, classify and measures bioeconomy manufacturing, technology and products, including those that are primarily biobased, components of traditional manufacturing processes, and nascent biobased processes and products. According to the RFI, input should include information on how particular industries or products are linked to the bioeconomy. Examples of segments of bioeconomy offered within the RFI include energy, including fuel and biomass; heath, including medicine and genetic products; manufacturing, including biomaterials/biochemicals and biobased industrial equipment; technology, including bio-related software and products; and services, including biobased research and development, production, biobased waste management, and biobased resource management.

The RFI contains seven specific questions that stakeholders are asked to respond to. Comments can be filed through June 12. Additional information is available on the Federal Register website


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