Chinese Solar Trade Association SEIA Laughs Off Chinese Illegal Trade Activity

SEIA a Front for Chinese Solar Manufacturers

Why does SEIA oppose tariffs on Chinese solar companies? Because it's a front for slave labor Chinese solar manufacturers.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which claims to represent the U.S. solar industry, was exposed as a front for Chinese solar companies. In a scathing report, The American Prospect exposed SEIA as failing to “disclose that among its leading members are the same Chinese-owned companies that are implicated not only in the investigation of illegal tariff evasion, but in the use of slave labor to produce solar components and coal-fired energy to power the factories.” Additionally, The American Prospect unmasked that SEIA’s “main strategy for the past ten years has been to lament restrictions on Chinese solar production.”

SEIA’s membership includes U.S. subsidiaries of China’s leading solar manufacturers: JinkoSolar, JA Solar, Trina Solar, BYD, and LONGi Solar, which are the dominant solar component manufacturers in the world. Four of these Chinese solar companies and SEIA members were named in an explosive academic report that was released by the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region detailing the widespread use of Uyghur forced labor within the solar industry. The report found that the four largest solar panel suppliers in the world—JinkoSolar, JASolar, TrinaSolar and LONGi—all source from at least one polysilicon manufacturer that is implicated in Uyghur forced labor either through direct participation in forced labor schemes, and/or through their raw material sourcing.

Jinko Solar also sits on the board of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

SEIA has strongly opposed trade cases investigating illegal Chinese activity.

In May 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that it had identified three Chinese solar manufacturers linked to forced labor that are members of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in the Department’s anticircumvention investigation. In August 2023, Commerce issued a final determination in its investigation that found that Chinese companies operating in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are illegally circumventing existing antidumping and countervailing (AD/CVD) duty orders on solar cells and modules from China. Unfortunately, the Biden administration’s Solar Emergency Declaration, which is still in place until June 2024, is protecting China’s illegal trade activity and rewarding the Chinese backed cheaters.

On April 24, 2024, seven major U.S. solar manufacturers filed a new trade case asking the Department of Commerce to investigate potentially illegal trade practices by Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam that are injuring the U.S. solar industry. The petitions were filed by major U.S. solar manufacturers across the nation, including Convalt Energy, First Solar, Meyer Burger, Mission Solar, Qcells, REC Silicon, and Swift Solar.

A recent analysis by the CPA Economics Team warned that the U.S. solar industry is being threatened by China’s overcapacity and that China’s solar companies are surviving on CCP subsidies. The companies subject to this investigation would be primarily Chinese-headquartered companies. For more information on this petition, visit

Not surprisingly, SEIA is once again opposed to this new investigation into its Chinese members.


David Roberts:

China is circumventing these tariffs. It’s basically just exporting its materials to nearby countries and then manufacturing the stuff there. And we’re importing from those countries. But in all but name, we’re still importing from China. Basically, China is using Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam to launder its solar cells and panels, and thereby dodging the tariffs.

This is the case Auxin is making. I think there’s been a lot of focus on Auxin. And this is, if people care, it’s a pretty tiny company, as these things go, does not appear to be particularly robust or growing. There’s been a lot of focus on Auxin. But I’d rather just skip all that and talk about the case itself. So I guess where I’d like to start is, just on the merits of the case, is this true? Is China guilty of circumventing tariffs by laundering its materials through these other countries?

Abigail Hopper:

No, it’s not, and I can tell you why.

>> Listen to the full podcast interview here. <<


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