Three large Chinese solar panel makers have been excluded from a US list of importers banned because they are accused of using slave labour in their clean energy operations.
All three were included in a 2021 report by geopolitical risk consultancy Horizon Advisory that found signs of ties to forced labour in their supply chains.
The lawmakers, all Democratic Party members, asked Mayorkas and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Chris Magnus how a federal task force compiled its list.
Supply Chain Disruptions
Expanding the scope of barred products could threaten US clean energy equipment supplies at a time the import-dependent industry is already grappling with supply chain disruptions, transmission constraints and other obstacles.
Those challenges are a major headwind to President Joe Biden’s goal to promote clean energy and decarbonise the US power sector by 2035.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act took effect last month to cut US purchases of products from Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities are reported to have established forced labour camps for ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim groups. Beijing denies abuses in Xinjiang.
The law gives the CBP discretion over which companies’ imports should be banned, and its list includes several makers of solar-grade polysilicon, a raw material used to produce solar panels for clean energy suppliers.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell