US House unanimously passes forced labor bill for Xinjiang region – pv magazine USA
Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law would ban all imports from the Chinese region, unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor. The region provides 50% of the world’s polysilicon, an essential material in solar photovoltaics.
The House of Representatives unanimously adopted the Uyghur Law on the Prevention of Forced Labor. If enacted, the law would ban all imports from China’s Xinjiang region, unless the products are determined to be unrelated to forced labor.
The region, which is home to 50% of the world’s supply of polysilicon, a critical material in conventional solar modules, has come under scrutiny for its human rights violations and forced labor by Uyghurs and others. ethnic minorities in China.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed President Biden will sign The law project, and President Nancy Pelosi said the bill would be sent to the Senate for “quick action.”
In June, the Biden administration ordered a ban on U.S. imports from Xinjiang-based Hashine Silicon Industry Co., along with three other companies in the region, and banned exports to what it called of paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC). Shortly thereafter, the United States Department of Labor’s Office of International Labor Affairs took unprecedented action by issuing a Federal Register notice that targets polysilicon produced in the region.
“The world and the American people cannot stand the presence of manufactured products under the conditions of exploitation endured by Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in its global supply chains,” said US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh . Companies like Coca-Cola and Nike have lobbied against the new bill, which would have a major impact on supply chains that are deeply rooted in the Chinese economy.
In August, an anonymous group of solar companies asked for tariffs on a handful of companies that import modules from Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The group called for anti-dumping and anti-circumvention tariffs, highlighting uncertainty in companies’ supply chain links with China and alleged dumping of forced labor goods.
Solar industry executives have described the tariffs as potentially crippling. The Commerce Department rejected the request in November, which Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper called “a major victory for America’s 231,000 solar workers.”
In 2020, the EIA reported that U.S. imports of solar panels fell 27% in the third quarter, as tensions between Washington DC and Beijing increased.
With increasing sanctions internationally, the United States seeks to strengthen its own domestic supply chain as it pursues energy decarbonization goals.
The Senate Finance Committee published his project the Build Back Better (BBB) infrastructure bill, which includes incentives for manufacturing thin-film PV and crystalline silicon PV in the United States. The bill also added incentives for solar trackers, inverters and other renewable energy technologies made in the United States.
Simultaneously, Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) sponsored a bill passed by the House in November that also seeks to stimulate the US manufacturing sector. Similar to the provisions of the BBB, the Solar Energy Manufacturing for America Act would provide tax credits for the domestic manufacture of solar grade polysilicon, wafers, cells, modules, as well as trackers and inverters.
With polysilicon coming largely from the Xinjiang region, the United States is exploring other photovoltaics, such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film panels and earth abundant but relatively unstable perovskites.
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