United Steelworkers Concerned about SEIA’s Misinformation Campaign
WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today released a statement after the Department of Commerce 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. The Department of Commerce is requiring the following SEIA members to respond: Jinko Solar in Malaysia, Trina Solar in Thailand, and Vina Solar — owned by SEIA member LONGi — in Vietnam. SEIA has spread a number of myths about the investigation.
Last week, a scathing report by The American Prospect exposed SEIA as a front for Chinese solar manufacturers. As The American Prospect notes, “SEIA’s membership includes U.S. subsidiaries of Chinese producers JinkoSolar, JA Solar, Trina Solar, BYD, and LONGi Solar, which are the dominant solar component manufacturers in the world” and “at no time do they 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.”
Four of SEIA’s Chinese solar 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.
All of these Chinese solar manufacturers are members of SEIA, and Jinko Solar also sits on SEIA’s board.
This week, the United Steelworkers announced their support for Commerce’s anticircumvention investigation and highlighted their concern that SEIA is working to spread misinformation to undermine the investigation.
“The union is concerned that some industry associations representing the installation segment are distorting how this process works, and conflating a number of solar supply chain dynamics to confuse the issue. They are choosing to ignore anti- competitive behavior for short-term gains that will undermine long term manufacturing strategies and efforts to build a durable coalition in support of climate change action. A recent American Prospect article examines some of the misinformation that is involved in this campaign.”
“The true motivation behind SEIA’s misinformation campaign to undermine Commerce’s anticircumvention investigation is clear,” said Zach Mottl, Chairman of CPA. “Not only is SEIA a front for Chinese solar manufacturers that use forced labor in their supply chains and that are subsidized by the CCP, SEIA’s Chinese members are the very same companies that Commerce is investigating for illegally circumventing AD/CVD duties. SEIA’s lobbying against a U.S. investigation on behalf of Chinese companies raises serious questions about whether or not they should be required to register under FARA and disclose the funding they are receiving from China.”