global trade

US targets 5 Chinese companies over alleged forced labor in Xinjiang


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US targets 5 Chinese companies over alleged forced labor in Xinjiang

XINJIANG. The Chinese national flag flies over a mosque in the old city in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China, May 4, 2021.

Thomas Peter/Reuters

The White House says it is 'imposing additional costs' on China 'for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices'

The Biden administration imposed trade bans on five Chinese companies over forced labor allegations in Xinjiang, the White House said on Thursday, June 24, citing the G7’s recent pledge to clean up the global supply chain.

It ordered a ban on US imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Company and separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese firms, and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), saying they were involved with the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the Chinese province.

The US Department of Labor also added polysilicon produced with forced labor in China to its “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.”

“These actions demonstrate our commitment to imposing additional costs on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices and ensuring that Beijing plays by the rules of fair trade as part of the rules-based international order,” the White House said.

Beijing has dismissed accusations of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang as lies.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, reacting to earlier reports of the US action, said on Thursday China would take “all necessary measures” to protect its companies’ rights and interests.

The three other companies added to the US economic blacklist were Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Company, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corporation; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Company, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Company, part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd.

At least some of the companies are major manufacturers of monocrystalline silicon and polysilicon used in solar panel production.

The White House, in its statement, said the companies’ practices not only ran counter to American values but also tipped the scales against US workers “by exploiting workers and artificially suppressing wages.” It noted the Biden administration’s push to boost the US solar industry.

Having the US Customs and Border Patrol seize imports from Hoshine was “based on information reasonably indicating that Hoshine used forced labor to manufacture silica-based products,” it added.

Hoshine Silicon Industry earlier said on an interactive investor platform that it does not export industrial silicon to the United States directly, which would limit the ban’s impact.

Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Company, in an email to Reuters, said it had “zero tolerance” towards forced labor, and does not directly sell or buy from the United States so there would be no “significant impact” on its business.

The other companies or their parent firms, including XPCC, did not respond to requests for comment, or could not be reached. –

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