Washington has banned the import of certain solar products that have been manufactured using forced labor into Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is accused of committing genocide against the Uyghurs.
The Biden administration has blocked imports of solar products made by Xinjiang Hoshine Silicon Industry, according to people informed about the ban.
He also added five companies that manufacture polysilicon – a raw material used by the solar industry – to the commercial entity’s “entity list”, which requires U.S. companies to secure a license from the government before doing business. with them, they add people.
The ban is the latest attempt by the Biden administration to put pressure on the Chinese government for the internment of more than 1m of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Earlier this year, the United States worked with the EU, Canada and the United Kingdom to impose sanctions on Chinese officials over Xinjiang.
John Kerry, the international climate negotiator in the United States, told Congress last month that the United States was considering more sanctions, but did not make it clear whether that would involve a ban on solar imports or measures. fresh against Beijing officials.
The Trump administration last year imposed similar bans on imports of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang. Companies from clothing retailers to solar panel manufacturers are under increasing pressure to ensure that no forced labor is employed in their supply chains.
Congress is also considering legislation requiring companies to provide assurances that their supply chains will not depend on forced labor in Xinjiang.
Chinese officials and researchers have described the allegations of forced labor as a strategy by the United States to undermine the international competitiveness of the country’s solar industry.
The foreign minister recently dismissed those accused of forced labor in the solar supply chain as “black hands” with an anti-China agenda. “Their goal is to cook up lies about forced labor to force job loss and decoupling with Xinjiang,” he said.
An article published last month by the China Going Global Think Tank in Beijing claimed that the United States was seeking to “suppress China’s photovoltaic industry and promote the development of the local industry, as well as to effectively gain a foothold. leading position at the global level ”.
Speaking to the Financial Times before the sun’s ban was finalized, John Smirnow, a senior leader of the Solar Energy Industry Association, said his group had “sounded the alarm since last year “Because of concerns that Washington would resume imports.
Smirnow said U.S. solar companies had “quite significant” exposure to Xinjiang until a year ago, but that companies have greatly reduced the proportion of such products in their supply chains.
He said the companies understood that it would be very difficult to convince customs to allow any solar imports from Xinjiang.
“Now, because of the inability to do independent third-party control in Xinjiang over forced labor, it will be almost impossible to convince customs if you have a panel or a product in this region.”