CPA on Biden’s Chinese Solar Sanctions: A Good Start, but More is Needed

WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today released a statement regarding new action by the Biden administration aimed at Chinese solar companies’ use of forced labor in Xinjiang. As part of the announcement, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will bar imports of metallurgical-grade silicon mined by Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan) Co.—including products made from it—unless Hoshine can prove the material is not produced with forced labor. Additionally, the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) also added five Chinese companies to the Entity List in connection with participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor involving Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. Currently, China has a 57% tariff on imports of solar-grade polysilicon originating in the United States.

Yesterday, CPA applauded legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) that seeks to boost U.S. domestic solar manufacturing, accelerate the transition to clean energy, and support American energy independence. Specifically, the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act would provide tax credits for multiple stages of the solar supply chain, including modules, photovoltaic cells, and solar-grade polysilicon. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Michael Bennett (D-CO), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) joined Ossoff in introducing the bill.

“Today’s actions by the Biden administration make it even more clear that the U.S. must take aggressive steps to reshore and rebuild the entire domestic solar supply chain through producer tax credits, trade enforcement, tariff protection, and domestic procurement,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “America has been sleepwalking through a free trade fever dream as Beijing engineered their chokehold on the solar global supply chain so we are dependentupon polysilicon, ingots, wafers, and cells produced by forced labor from CCP concentration camps. The Biden administration should issue more import bans on corporate abusers. Staged reduction and elimination of our purchasing of these goods is imperative. At the same time, America must build the solar ingot, wafer, and cell production capacity to use our domestic polysilicon, and supply our growing solar module sector. Congress should pass the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act and the Biden administration should employ a suite of tools, including the aggressive trade enforcement that rebuilt our module sector in the last three years.”

Earlier this year, CPA released a white paper that documents the current state of the U.S. solar manufacturing industry and how China dominates the global solar supply chain. Currently, China has 64% of the polysilicon market, rising to 75% by 2023, and has a chokehold on the ingot and wafer production with 99% of the market share. The white paper also provided key recommendations for policymakers on how to counter Chinese dominance over the global supply chain that threatens U.S. energy independence and U.S. technology leadership in this critical industry of the future.

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