US bans solar panel component imports from China

Photo: EPA

US imposed a ban on imports from China of key components for making solar panels, Reuters reported. The deals with Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co were halted over forced labor allegations. The US Commerce Department separately restricted all exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, with arguments that they were involved with the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The three other companies that were added to the US economic blacklist include Xinjiang Daqo New Energy, a unit of Daqo New Energy Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group, and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Co, part of GCL New Energy Holdings. The Commerce Department confirmed that the companies and XPCC "have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in" Xinjiang.

At least some of the companies listed by the Commerce Department are major manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon and polysilicon that are used in solar panel production.

The immediate effect of the restrictions would be limited as the companies named do not have "vast contracts" with US based wafer companies.

About 45% of all polysilicon used in solar module production is produced in Xinjiang, with 35% produced in other parts of China. The remainder comes from outside China. The global solar energy supply chain has been squeezed by record high costs for polysilicon, labour and freight.

The Xinjiang region accounts for approximately 45% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon supply, a report by solar industry analysts found.

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