SEIA Exposed as Front for Chinese Solar Companies
WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) today applauded Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo for exposing the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) big lie that triple digit tariffs would result from the anti-circumvention petition filed by Auxin Solar, Inc., against four Southeast Asian countries, calling such predictions “exceedingly unlikely.” Testifying before the Senate yesterday, Secretary Raimondo went on to add that, “I do think it is important to say that the 200 percent is an extreme case and not fitting with the precedent we’ve had.” SEIA has spread a number of myths about the investigation.
In a scathing report released today, 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.”
“It is time for SEIA to come clean about the Chinese companies behind their efforts to undermine the Commerce Department’s investigation and U.S. solar module manufacturers,” said Nick Iacovella, SVP of Communications at CPA. “The very Chinese companies implicated in this investigation are not only members of and actively funding SEIA, they are also subsidized by and beholden to the Chinese Communist Party. While they claim to support U.S solar manufacturers, they have consistently lobbied in favor of policies that benefit Chinese solar companies at the expense of American ones. SEIA’s Chinese members are actively holding the U.S. solar industry hostage by refusing to ship to the U.S. — a coordinated effort that only underscores the need to boost domestic production and reduce our reliance on slave labor Chinese solar produced by coal.”
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).
As The American Prospect reports, solar production in China has a devastating climate consequence because those factories in China use coal to produce solar projects:
“Solar component production uses large quantities of energy, and the Xinjiang plants rely on low-cost coal. In 2020, China started more coal plants than the world decommissioned combined, much of it in the solar-producing region. It takes years for a solar plant using coal to return to carbon neutrality. Domestic manufacturing would not have the same kind of problems.
“Most important, holding the future of the green transition subservient to one country is folly, as two years of evidence with pandemic-era disruptions of concentrated supply more than proves. Even if you think that China is a rational actor that won’t overprice or hold back solar to get what it wants, any disruption can cause chaos, not just an anti-dumping investigation.
“SEIA has made the climate cost the centerpiece of their campaign. But it’s worth questioning whether climate and trade goals have to necessarily conflict in this case. If Chinese solar panels are dirtier to produce, some of the climate benefit is muted. If they’re made with forced labor, it shocks the conscience. And if they are wantonly violating trade laws, then the share of Chinese dominance will grow, adding a host of problems, not just for the economy, but for the climate as well.”
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