US Customs bans imports of solar panel materials tied to forced labour in China

Solar module. Author: Oregon Department of Transportation. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.

June 25 (Renewables Now) - The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Thursday blocked all imports of silica-based products made by China’s Hoshine Silicon Industry Co Ltd (SHA:603260) and its subsidiaries, after its investigation found that the company used forced workers from China’s Xinjiang region.

CBP’s “withhold release order” (WRO) also applies to materials and goods, such as polysilicon - a key material in solar panels, derived from or produced using Hoshine’s silica-based products and instructs all US ports to detain shipments, CPB said.

Hoshine’s workers are said to be exposed to intimidation and threats, and restriction of movement, two of 11 indicators defined by the International Labour Organization as pointing to a forced labour situation and identified by CBP in its investigation.

Hoshine was also flagged by the US Department of Commerce, which put the company, three other Chinese producers of solar panel materials and paramilitary organisation Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps on its export ban list for their alleged involvement in human rights abuses and labour exploitation of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang region.

It is estimated that some 50% of the world’s polysilicon production is based in Xinjiang. A CBP official said the about USD 6 million (EUR 5.02m) worth of direct imports from Hoshine, and some USD 150 million worth of downstream products containing Hoshine’s raw materials entered the US over the past two and a half years.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.837)

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Sladjana has significant experience as a Spain-focused business news reporter and is now diving deeper into the global renewable energy industry. She is the person to seek if you need information about Latin American renewables and the Spanish market.

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