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Exclusive: U.S. blocks more than 1,000 solar shipments over Chinese slave labor concerns

Nov 11 (Reuters) – More than 1,000 shipments of solar energy parts price tons of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} have piled up at US ports since June, beneath a brand new regulation banning imports from China’s Xinjiang area over slave labor concerns, federal customs officers and Industry Sources.

The scale of the confiscations, which has not been beforehand reported, displays how a coverage aimed toward pressuring Beijing over its Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang dangers slowing the Biden administration’s efforts to Decarbonize the ability sector to combat local weather change.

US Customs and Border Protection seized 1,053 shipments of solar power tools between June 21, when the Uyghur Labor Protection Act got here into impact, and October 25, he informed Reuters in response to a request for public information, including that not one of the Deliveries achieved this haven’t but been launched.

The company wouldn’t disclose the producers or affirm particulars concerning the quantity of solar tools within the shipments, citing federal legal guidelines defending confidential commerce secrets and techniques.

However, three business sources with information of the matter informed Reuters that the merchandise seized embrace panels and polysilicon cells with a capability prone to be as much as 1 gigawatt and are primarily manufactured by three Chinese producers – Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (601012.SS), Trina Solar Co Ltd (688599.SS) and JinkoSolar Holding Co (JKS.N).

Together, Longi, Trina, and Jinko sometimes account for as much as a 3rd of US panel shipments. But corporations have halted new shipments to the United States over fears further shipments may also be held up, business sources mentioned.

The sources requested to not be named as they don’t seem to be approved to talk publicly on the matter.

China denies abuse in Xinjiang. Beijing initially denied the existence of detention camps, however later admitted it had arrange “vocational training centers” essential to curb terrorism, separatism and non secular radicalism in Xinjiang.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian mentioned in an everyday information convention on Friday that allegations of using compelled labor in Xinjiang have been “the lie of the century invented by a small group of anti-China figures” and the worldwide one would hamper response to local weather change.

“The US side should immediately stop the unreasonable suppression of China’s photovoltaic companies and release the confiscated solar panel components as soon as possible,” he mentioned.

In an e mail, Jinko mentioned it’s working with CBP on paperwork proving its shipments usually are not linked to compelled labor and is “confident the shipments will be allowed.”

Longi and Trina didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The bottleneck is a problem for US solar growth at a time when the Biden administration is attempting to decarbonize the US financial system and implement the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a brand new regulation selling clear power applied sciences to fight local weather change .

Solar installations within the United States fell 23% within the third quarter, and practically 23 gigawatts of solar tasks are delayed, largely resulting from module unavailability, in accordance with the American Clean Power Association commerce group.

ACP referred to as on the Biden administration to streamline the import verification course of.

“After more than four months of reviewing solar panels under the UFLPA, none have been rejected and instead they remain in limbo with no end in sight,” the assertion mentioned.

Essentially, the UFLPA assumes that each one Xinjiang items are manufactured utilizing compelled labor and requires producers to supply procurement documentation from imported tools to uncooked materials to show in any other case earlier than imports could be cleared.

CBP declined to touch upon the size of the detentions or after they is likely to be launched or denied. “Ultimately, it depends on how quickly an importer is able to provide sufficient documentation,” mentioned CBP spokeswoman Rhonda Lawson.

Longi, Trina and Jinko get most of their polysilicon from US and European suppliers equivalent to Hemlock Semiconductor, a Michigan-based three way partnership between Corning Inc and Shin-Etsu Handotai Co Ltd, and Germany’s Wacker Chemie, the business sources mentioned.

A Wacker spokesman declined to touch upon the US arrests, however mentioned the corporate sources quartzite from suppliers in Norway, Spain and France.

“Our sourcing strategy gives us every reason to trust that the products used in our supply chain are manufactured with respect for human rights,” mentioned spokesman Christof Bachmair.

Hemlock mentioned in a press release that it sources all of its metallurgical-grade silicon from suppliers that use quartz from North and South America.

CBP has beforehand mentioned it held about 1,700 shipments price $516.3 million beneath UFLPA via September, however by no means beforehand detailed what number of of these shipments included solar panels.

The EU additionally proposed a ban on merchandise from Xinjiang, however didn’t implement it.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Additional reporting by Eduardo Baptista in Beijing and David Stanway in Shanghai; Edited by Richard Valdmanis, Lisa Shumaker, Lincoln Feast and David Evans

Our requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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