U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are detaining more than 1,000 shipments of solar energy components. This is equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars. According to federal customs officials and industry sources from Reuters, they’ve been doing so since June.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 1,053 shipments of solar energy equipment between June 21, when the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA) went into effect, and on October 25, it told Reuters in response to a public records request. Customs is not yet releasing any of the shipments.
The agency did not reveal the manufacturers or confirm details about the quantity of solar equipment in the shipments, citing federal law that protects confidential trade secrets.
The news agency cited other sources who said the detained products include panels and polysilicon cells likely amounting to up to 1 GW of capacity and primarily made by three Chinese manufacturers: Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd., Trina Solar Co Ltd., and JinkoSolar Holding Co.
China denies abuses in Xinjiang. Beijing initially denied the existence of any detention camps. However, later admitted it had set up “vocational training centers.” They are aid were necessary to curb what it said was terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism in Xinjiang.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing on November 11 that claims about the use of forced labor in Xinjiang were “the lie of the century fabricated by a small group of anti-China individuals” and would hinder the global response to climate change.