China solar imports worth over $800 million face US customs scrutiny for using slave labor

The shipment of solar panels from China has come under pressure from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, following a law passed last year that sought to block Chinese solar imports made using forced labor from the Uyghur community in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. (CBP) oversight.

Last June, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) came into effect. “Between June 2022 and January 2023, he identified 2,692 shipments that may have violated provisions of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act,” he said in a CBP spokesperson. said the rep. Said to Fox News. “The value of these shipments was $817,466,574.”

The law was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2021. According to the law, all goods produced in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of China, in whole or in part, are prohibited from being imported into the United States unless the importer meets the following conditions: exception.

Approximately 50% of the shipments CBP holds for inspection since the UFLPA came into effect have been solar panels and related components. Only about one-third of the goods brought in for inspection were released by agents.

China’s Xinjiang region is the source of about 45% of the polysilicon used globally, and 19 out of 20 solar modules, as highlighted in the 2021 report In Broad Daylight. is a material present in

The country’s polysilicon industry migrated to Xinjiang about five years ago due to government tax incentives, cheap coal energy and subsidies to use forced “redundant workers” from the Uyghur community. , the report revealed.

Enforcement of UFLPA, but lax attitude from Biden administration

A year before the UFLPA came into effect, CBP issued a release order against Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd., a Chinese company in Xinjiang. Pursuant to such an order, the applicable goods will be automatically held for inspection. Investigations have revealed that the company’s manufacturing processes may have involved forced or bonded labor.

The UFLPA includes a presumption that all items produced in Xinjiang are presumed to use forced labor. As such, the UFLPA restrictions automatically apply to such products. Importers must provide convincing evidence that no forced labor was used during the manufacturing process.

The Biden administration’s push for solar power installations is also under scrutiny as it could adversely affect the UFLPA.

In a letter last month, Republican lawmakers warned that the administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed last year, would increase imports of solar panels from China and make it harder for CBP to enforce Uyghur protection laws.

Lawmakers also criticized the government for its lax attitude in enforcing the law. said the letter.

“President Biden’s decision to halt investigations into solar panels imported from Southeast Asian countries with components from the People’s Republic of China is a further false signal that this administration has no interest in America’s reliance on forced labor. will be sent.”

Solar Tech Export Restrictions

Meanwhile, China is reportedly considering imposing export restrictions on the technology used to make solar panels to maintain its dominance in the global market.

Beijing is said to be seeking public comment on the matter. The Ministry of Science and Technology added some of these technologies to the “restricted” list of export control circulars on Dec. 30.

This technology is related to increasing the power output of solar panels. Such technology allows each unit of power to be produced more cheaply.

But some experts believe such a move could backfire for China and make it difficult for Chinese solar companies to expand in other countries.

As of last year, China accounted for 97% of global wafer production, according to the International Energy Agency.