Tensions continue over allegations of the use of forced labor in Chinese solar panel production and blocked shipments to the United States as a result. U.S. Customs officials have been looking into this issue closely in recent months, and news reports have added another Chinese company into the mix. An article in Bloomberg indicates that China’s Longi Green Energy Technology Co. "is the latest in the industry to have shipments detained by U.S. customs as part of a crackdown by Washington over alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region," with "40.31 megawatts of modules detained from Oct. 28 through Nov. 3."
In a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the company provided a clarification of these developments as follows:
First of all, the component products detained by the U.S. Customs due to the WRO [withhold release order] totaled 40.31MW, which approximately accounted for 1.59% of the company’s export sales to the U.S. in 2020. At present, the company’s shipments to the U.S. market remain normal so as to meet the demands of customers in the US market.
Secondly, according to the data of China Photovoltaic Industry Association, new photovoltaic installations in the United States accounted for 14.8% of the global installations in 2020. [Our] company’s sales are distributed globally, and will not have a major dependence on the U.S. market.
Third, the company has established measures and working processes for traceability management of related products, and is able to provide relevant tracing evidence to prove that the silicon raw materials used in the component products temporarily detained by the U.S. Customs meet the government regulatory requirements.
At present, the WRO of the U.S. Customs has not had a significant adverse impact on the company’s operations. [Our company] will continue monitoring and evaluating the impact of the WRO on the company’s U.S. shipments.
A Bloomberg reporter asked about this issue at the regular Ministry of Foreign Affairs press conference on November 4, leading to this exchange:
Bloomberg: A Chinese company's shipments of solar products were detained by the US Customs as part of a crackdown by Washington over alleged human rights abuses. My question is, will China take any retaliatory action? And if so, what might that look like?
Wang Wenbin: The so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang is an out-and-out lie. Citing this preposterous lie as an excuse, the US side has wantonly detained Chinese solar products. This again exposes the US side's malicious intention to undermine Xinjiang's development. It will also disrupt and undercut the stability of international industrial and supply chains and global cooperation on climate change. We deplore and reject the unjustified US move and extend sympathy to the affected companies.
We urge the US to immediately redress its mistake, stop undue suppression of Chinese companies, and provide enabling conditions for our two countries to achieve steady development of relations and work together to tackle climate change. China will take all necessary measures to firmly defend the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.