WASHINGTON: The US government banned imports of solar panel materials from a Chinese company and placed trade restrictions on four others Thursday for alleged use of forced labour in the Xinjiang region.
The White House said in a statement that Xinjiang-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co would not be able to sell its products into the US due to “information reasonably indicating that Hoshine used forced labour to manufacture silica-based products”.
In parallel the Commerce Department announced that Hoshine and four other Xinjiang firms would be subject to tight restrictions on their ability to acquire US commodities, software and technology due to their involvement in the use of forced labour.
“These actions demonstrate our commitment to imposing additional costs on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labour practices,” the White House said in a statement.
“The US believes that state-sponsored forced labour in Xinjiang is both an affront to human dignity and an example of the PRC’s unfair economic practices.”
The White House said the use of forced labour was part of Beijing’s systematic effort to repress millions of ethnic Uighurs and other minorities in the far-west region, an effort which it said includes sexual violence and large-scale detentions in labour camps.
The import ban on Hoshine adds to similar actions against producers and users of cotton and tomato products and hair products like weaves from the region.
The four other companies include two producers of polysilicon materials for the solar panel industry, Xinjiang Daqo New Energy and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, aluminium processor Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals, and state-owned Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, already hit with restrictions for its cotton-related business.
The US also recently placed a ban on imports from a leading Chinese fishing company, Dalian Ocean, for its use of forced labour, unrelated to Xinjiang and the Uighurs.