US bans Chinese imports amid forced labour concerns

Cracking down on forced labor allegations in China, the Biden administration on Wednesday banned the imports of a key solar panel chemicals from China-based Hoshine Silicon Industry.

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Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, charging them with using forced labor supplied by Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The three other companies added to the U.S. economic blacklist, which includes Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Company, part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd.

The Commerce Department said 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.

Some of the companies listed by the Commerce Department are major manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon and polysilicon, which are used in solar panel production.

China’s embassy in Washington referred to remarks on Tuesday by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who dismissed accusations of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang as “nothing but rumors with ulterior motives and downright lies.”

The order by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection only blocks imports from Hoshine and does not impact the majority of U.S. imports of polysilicon and other silica-based products.

Sources said it will not affect the Biden administration’s climate goals or support for the domestic solar industry.

The sources said the United States is continuing to investigate allegations of forced labor by Chinese companies that supply polysilicon.

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