The U.S. federal customs officials announced that it has recently stopped more than 1,000 cargoes of solar energy equipment, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, entering the U.S. market from the Xinjiang region of China.

According to a Reuters report on November 11, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection confiscated 1,053 shipments of solar energy components between June 21, when the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act came into force, and October 25. Until now, the agency has not released any of them.

Three sources told Reuters that the seized items comprise panels and polysilicon cells, accounting for as high as 1 gigawatt of capacity, mainly made by three Chinese manufacturers, including Longi Green Energy Technology, Trina Solar, and JinkoSolar.

The three Chinese firms contribute to 30% of U.S. panel supplies. However, they have suspended the latest shipments to America, fearing the potential seizure of additional freights. 

Among them, only Jinko said that it is working with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on evidence to show that its products do not involve slave labor. The company is also “confident the shipments will be admitted.”

Reuters noted that the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act presumes that all products from the Xinjiang region involve forced labor. To comply with the policy, manufacturers seeking to export to the U.S. must show sufficient documentation of imported components and raw materials not connecting to compulsory labor in the manufacturing process.

In addition, under the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act, U.S. customs officials have also seized about 1,700 cargoes worth $516.3 million through September.

The EU has already proposed an embargo on Xinjiang’s goods but has not yet enforced one.

As reported by pv magazine, polysilicon is a primary raw material used in solar panel making. The Xinjiang region, which supplies about half of the world’s polysilicon, has been scrutinized for its massive human rights abuses and slave labor of millions of Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in China.Secretary of Labor Marty Walshsaid, “The world and the American people cannot abide the presence of goods made under the exploitative conditions experienced by Uyghur and other ethnic minority groups in its global supply chains.”

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