6 Chinese Manufacturers of Solar Industry Materials Blacklisted From U.S. Market

Six Chinese manufacturers of raw materials and components for the solar industry will be added to a blacklist by the U.S. Commerce Department, barring them from access to the U.S. market as part of an effort to halt commerce connected to allegations of China's human rights violations against Uyghurs and other minorities.

The ban on Chinese-made materials for solar panels was made by the Biden administration under a law that bans imports of goods made with forced labor.

"These actions demonstrate our commitment to imposing additional costs on the People's Republic of China for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices and ensuring that Beijing plays by the rules of fair trade as part of the rules-based international order," a press statement released by the administration reads.

Shipments from the Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries will be immediately halted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in addition to the six manufacturers that will be added to the blacklist.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Uyghur Tribunal
Members of the panel take their seats for the first day of hearings at the "Uyghur Tribunal", a panel of UK-based lawyers and rights experts investigating alleged abuses against Uyghurs in China on June 4, 2021. The pane plans to issue a verdict on whether Beijing has perpetrated genocide or crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in China. Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

These latest moves could make it harder for the U.S. to meet renewable energy goals aimed at addressing climate change because about 45 percent of the global supply of the polysilicon used to make photovoltaic cells for solar panels comes from the Xinjiang region. A CBP investigation found evidence that the industry is tainted by forced labor tied to the campaign against ethnic minorities.

"Our environmental goals will not be achieved on the backs of human beings in a forced labor environment," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at a news conference. "We are going to root out forced labor and we are going to use alternative products that are manufactured legitimately in keeping with our values and our commitment to a fair marketplace."

It's part of a campaign that has gained global momentum to apply economic pressure on the Chinese government over its forced assimilation of largely Muslim minorities in the far western Xinjiang region. The U.S. has already banned cotton and tomatoes from the area and both Canada and Britain have also moved to restrict imports over the issue.

The administration said the Labor Department will also update its list of goods known to be produced with forced labor to include polysilicon from China. That will put additional pressure on U.S. manufacturers to remove Chinese components from their supply chains.

CBP is still investigating the extent of Hoshine in the U.S. market but direct shipments over the past 2 1/2 years totaled about $6 million while imports that include material from the company were about $150 million, said Ana Hinojosa, who runs the agency's trade enforcement team.

The company's shipments to the country have declined amid expectations that the U.S. would take some kind of enforcement action over abuses in Xinjiang.

China denies allegations that it uses forced labor in Xinjiang or elsewhere and has broadly rejected the consistent and well-documented reports that Uyghurs and other minorities have been detained under brutal conditions, subjected to indoctrination and intensive surveillance intended to force them to assimilate into the dominant Han culture.

International Court
This March 31, 2021 file photo shows the exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. A group of lawyers presented a dossier of evidence to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court on June 10, 2021, that they say establishes jurisdiction for the global tribunal to investigate allegations Chinese authorities are involved in grave crimes targeting Uyghurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group. Peter Dejong, File/AP Photo