A group of House Democrats sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus asking why certain Chinese companies were not included on a list of companies known to use slave labor in reference to enforcing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
The letter, sent by Reps. Marcy Kaptur (OH), Tim Ryan (OH), Brendan Boyle (PA), Mike Doyle (PA), Bill Pascrell (NJ), Tom Suozzi (NY) and Stephanie Murphy (FL), inquired as to why solar products made by JinkoSolar, Xinte Energy and LONGi Solar were excluded. A 2021 report included the companies as having ties to forced labor in their supply chains.
Signed into law by President Biden in December 2021 and being enforced since June 21, 2022, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prohibits the importation of any goods, wares, articles and merchandise into the United States that are mined, produced or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The act is in response to China’s reportedly mass imprisonment, torture and enslavement of the Uyghur people.
In addition to cotton and tomatoes, polysilicon is under significant scrutiny under the UFLPA. It’s been estimated that almost 50% of the world’s polysilicon comes from the Xinjiang region. Polysilicon is the foundational building block of crystalline silicon solar panels.
The Department of Homeland Security released a list of companies working in Xinjiang that are known to use forced labor before the June 21 enforcement of UFLPA. No down-stream solar companies are listed, but a few polysilicon firms are, including Hoshine, Daqo, GCL and East Hope.
Xinte Energy is among the Top 10 polysilicon manufacturers in the world and manufactures in Xinjiang. Jinko and LONGi are solar wafer, cell and panel manufacturers located in China. Jinko has a silicon ingot plant in Xinjiang and purchases polysilicon from Daqo, according to the Congressmembers’ letter.
“China is engaged in a campaign of widespread, systematic persecution of the Uyghur people,” said Rep. Kaptur regarding the letter. Kaptur represents the district in Ohio that includes the world’s largest thin-film solar panel manufacturer First Solar. “The United States must support American companies and American workers – not stand by while China enslaves its own people and then makes a buck on their misery.”
Both Jinko and LONGi have had solar modules detained under the previous WRO in effect for products possibly using Hoshine polysilicon made in Xinjiang. A Jinko spokesperson informed Solar Power World that Customs and Border Protection has reviewed the documentation related to the referenced Jinko shipments and released the products.
The full letter is below: