Connect with us

Top News

Forced labor act takes effect, targets solar supply chains

Published

on

Forced labor act takes effect, targets solar supply chains

Containers being unloaded at the Port of Long Beach in California. Credit: Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Solar module importers face another trade hurdle as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) takes effect.

Passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on December 23, the law is intended to reinforce U.S. policy to curb the importation of goods made with forced labor. 

The UFLPA draws its authority from Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1307). That section, first crafted nearly a century ago, prohibits the importation of all “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor or/and forced labor or/and indentured labor under penal sanctions.”


Subscribe today to the all-new Factor This! podcast from Renewable Energy World. This podcast is designed specifically for the solar industry and is available wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen to the latest episode, available wherever you get your podcasts, on President Biden’s lifeline to the solar industry. Hear from industry leaders like Solar Energy Industries Association CEO Abigail Ross Hopper and Intersect Power CEO Sheldon Kimber. The complete four-part series on the Auxin Solar tariff petition is now available.

Advertisement

Credible evidence has circulated since 2020 that ethnic Uyghars living in the Xinjiang region of China are being forced to work in extracting and refining raw materials that go into the production of polysilicon that then is used to produce solar cells and modules.

Beijing has long denied that forced labor of any kind is used in any Chinese manufacturing. It has enacted laws to punish Chinese companies that cooperate with international efforts to address the use of forced labor. Those actions have made it challenging for solar module importers to produce the detailed documentation that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents require.

As written, the UFLPA requires the CBP Commissioner to presume that imports mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), or by entities identified by the U.S. government on the UFLPA Entity List, are made with forced labor and are prohibited from entry into the United States.

That presumption extends to goods made in, or shipped through, the PRC and other countries that include inputs made in Xinjiang.

To overcome the presumption, importers must, among other things, demonstrate by “clear and convincing evidence” that the item was not produced or manufactured by forced labor. 

Advertisement

The UFLPA also requires that importers “demonstrate due diligence, effective supply chain tracing, and supply chain management measures” to ensure that they do not import any goods made by forced labor. This requirement extends throughout the entire supply chain, to include goods that may be shipped from elsewhere in the PRC and to third countries for further processing.

The UFLPA targets solar module imports that may involve Chinese forced labor.

Guidelines issued by CBP officials on June 13 outline four requirements aimed specifically at polysilicon.

• Importers need to provide complete records of transactions and supply chain documentation that demonstrate all entities involved in the manufacture, manipulation, or export of a particular good, and the country of origin of each material used in the production of the products going back to the suspected source of forced labor (that is, production in Xinjiang or by an entity on the UFLPA Strategy entities lists).

• Provide a flow chart mapping each step in the procurement and production of all materials and identify the region where each material in the production originated (for example, from location of the quartzite used to make polysilicon, to the location of manufacturing facilities producing polysilicon, to the location of facilities producing downstream goods used to make the imported good).

• Provide a list of all entities associated with each step of the production process, with citations denoting the business records used to identify each upstream party with whom the importer did not directly transact.

• Importers should be aware that imports of goods from factories that source polysilicon both from within Xinjiang and outside of Xinjiang risk being subject to detention, as it may be harder to verify that the supply chain is using only non-Xinjiang polysilicon and that the materials have not been replaced by or co-mingled with Xinjiang polysilicon at any point in the manufacturing process.

Advertisement

Naming names

The UFLPA codifies into law a year-old Withhold Release Order that the Biden administration imposed on solar module imports.

In a series of actions on June 24, 2021 the administration ordered a ban on U.S. imports from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. over forced labor allegations. The U.S. Department of Commerce separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies, and what it said was the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

The three companies included Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp.; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, a unit of Shanghai-based manufacturer East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Co., part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd.

Hoshine is estimated to be the source of around two-thirds of the world’s metallurgical grade silicon, which is used in the solar industry. The silicon provides feedstock used in the polysilicon refining process. In August, reports began to emerge that CBP was detaining solar modules that they suspected contained material subject to the WRO.

Read More

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top News

Donors pledge $160 million, Palestinian refugees need more

Published

on

Donors pledge $160 million, Palestinian refugees need more

Placeholder while article actions load

UNITED NATIONS — Donors pledged about $160 million for the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees, but it still needs over $100 million to support education for more than half a million children and provide primary health care for close to 2 million people and emergency cash assistance to the poorest refugees, the agency’s chief said Friday.

Briefing reporters on the outcome of Thursday’s donor conference, Philippe Lazzarini said the pledges when turned into cash will enable the U.N. Relief and Works Agency known as UNRWA to run its operations through September. But “I do not know if we will get the necessary cash to allow us to pay the salaries after the month of September,” he said.

“We are in an early warning mode,” Lazzarini said. “Right now, I’m drawing the attention that we are in a danger zone and we have to avoid a situation where UNRWA is pushed to cross the tipping point, because if we cross the tipping point that means 28,000 teachers, health workers, nurses, doctors, engineers, cannot be paid.”

Advertisement

UNRWA was established to provide education, health care, food and other services to the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.

There are now 5.7 million Palestinian refugees, including their children and grandchildren, who mostly live in camps that have been transformed into built-up but often impoverished residential areas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, as well as in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. But UNRWA only helps the more than 500,000 in school and close to 2 million who have health benefits.

Lazzarini said the more than $100 million shortfall in funding for 2022 is about the same as the shortfall that UNRWA has faced every year for almost a decade, but while income has stagnated costs have increased.

In past years, UNRWA has been able to absorb the shortfall through austerity and cost control measures, he said, but today it’s not possible because there is very little left to cut without cutting services.

“Today, we have some classrooms with up to 50 kids,” the UNRWA commissioner-general said. “We have a double shift in our schools. We have doctors who cannot spend more than three minutes in medical consultation. So if we go beyond that, it will force the agency to cut services.”

Advertisement

Lazzarini said UNRWA’s problem is that “we are expected to provide government-like services to one of the most destitute communities in the region, but we are funded like an NGO because we depend completely on voluntary contributions.”

Funding the agency’s services has been put at risk today because of the “de-prioritization, or maybe increased indifference, or because of domestic politics,” he said.

Lazzarini said the solution to UNRWA’s chronic financial problem requires “political will” to match the support for the agency’s work on behalf of Palestinian refugees.

He said UNRWA has a very strong donor base in Europe and last year the Biden administration resumed funding which was cut by the Trump administration, but he said the overall contribution from the Arab world has dropped to less than 3% of the agency’s income.

Donors have also faced financial difficulties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, and now there’s a major effort to help Ukraine in its war with Russia, he said.

Advertisement

“We will know better at the end of the year how much it will impact the agency,” Lazzarini said.

Some donors have already warned UNRWA “that we might not have the traditional top-up at the end of the year, which would be dramatic” for the agency, he said.

Ahead of Thursday’s donors conference, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Erdan Calls on countries to freeze contributions until all UNRWA teachers that it claims support terrorism and murdering Jews are fired.

Lazzarini said UNRWA received a letter from Israel’s U.N. Mission Friday which he hadn’t read, but he said all allegations will be investigated and if there is a breach of U.N. values and misconduct “we will take measures in line with U.N. policies.”

Read More

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Top News

Mexico climber dies scaling active, off-limits volcano

Published

on

Mexico climber dies scaling active, off-limits volcano

Placeholder while article actions load

MEXICO CITY — A woman mountain climber in Mexico died and a climbing companion was injured when they scaled the highly active, off-limits peak of the Popocatepetl volcano.

Mexico’s volunteer Mountain Rescue and Assistance Brigade confirmed Friday that the climbers fell into a gully about 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the volcano’s crater, suggesting they had reached the crater or near it.

The crater of the 17,797-foot (5,426-meter) tall volcano has been belching toxic fumes, ash, and lumps of incandescent rock persistently for almost 30 years.

Advertisement

Civil defense authorities have strictly prohibited climbers from going within 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) of the peak since it began erupting again in 1994.

Valentín Martínez Castillo, the mayor of the nearby town of Ozumba, identified the dead woman as a 22-year-old resident of the town.

Martínez Castillo wrote in his social media accounts that the climbers fell about 150 feet (50 meters) down a gully, and that the woman’s body and the surviving climbers had been successfully removed from the peak.

The Mountain Rescue and Assistance Brigade posted a notice on their social media Friday reading: “She shouldn’t have died. Don’t put your life or those of others at risk. The Popocatepetl volcano is closed.”

The country’s National Disaster Prevention Center said it “calls on people not to go near the volcano, especially the crater, due to the risk of falling ballistic fragments.”

Advertisement

Popocatepetl is located 45 miles (72 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City, and occasionally showers ash on surrounding towns and some parts of the capital.

Read More

Continue Reading

Top News

Bill Clinton: Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision has ‘put our democracy at risk’

Published

on

Bill Clinton: Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision has ‘put our democracy at risk’

Former President Clinton is slamming the Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying it contributes to putting “democracy at risk” and calling the high court “radical” and “activist.”

“This decision puts partisanship ahead of precedent, ideology ahead of evidence, and the power of a small minority ahead of the clear will of the people,” Clinton said in a statement on Friday.

“This jarring removal of rights that had long been guaranteed, along with decisions gutting the Voting Rights Act and abolishing any judicial remedy for admittedly unconstitutional gerrymandering by state legislatures and abuses of power by federal authorities, has put our democracy at risk in the hands of a radical, activist Court,” he added.

He said said voters should be electing people “who will defend, not deny, our cherished rights and liberties” in addition to confirming judges who put the importance of the Constitution over partisanship.

Advertisement

His wife, former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, called the decision “a step backward for women’s rights and human rights.”

The development comes as the high court ruled on Friday to eliminate federal-level abortion protections, which many anticipated after a leaked draft ruling last month. 

Several states, including Missouri, South Dakota, Louisiana and Kentucky, have now effectively banned abortion. More are expected to follow.

Tags

Abortion

Advertisement

Abortion ruling

Bill Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Roe v. Wade

Supreme Court

Read More

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 Newsline. Powered by WordPress.