US customs enforcement puts 2.1 GW of solar projects at risk – pv magazine Australia
Detentions of solar products at US ports of entry all stem from a “restraint order” issued on June 24 by customs and border protection.
From pv USA magazine
About 2.1 GW of solar projects representing a total investment of about US $ 2.2 billion (AU $ 3 billion) on a payroll of 3,000 construction workers are at risk as US customs and protection Border officials (CBP) are enforcing measures to stop the flow of goods that may have been produced using forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
Philip Shen, analyst at Roth Capital Partners, offered the figures and said that JinkoSolar has had 100 MW of modules detained by customs officials and the company “is not able to ship from Malaysia to the United States. United “.
In addition, Trina Solar selected six next-generation test modules and Canadian Solar selected four modules. Canadian solar modules may have been on their way to the Solar Power International trade show in September in New Orleans.
pv magazine independently learned that all three companies had products held by border officials. Trina Solar and Canadian Solar said the detentions directly involved their products.
In remarks during a webinar hosted by Roth Capital, Elise Shibles, a lawyer at Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, said there was a “low probability” that any of the detained modules would be released. The importers concerned have three months to prove that no forced labor was involved at any stage of the production of the product. But customs and the border patrol have set a “high bar” in terms of the documentation to be produced to ensure the release of the products. She said the documentation “is hardly ever sufficient” to meet release requirements.
The amount of detail that will need to be provided by companies whose products are detained by border officials will require “unprecedented cooperation” from upstream suppliers, said Richard Mojica, lawyer at Miller & Chevalier.
Withhold the release order
The detentions all stem from a June 24 “non-release order” issued by Customs and Border Protection against Hoshine Silicon Industry Co. Ltd., a company located in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The detention-release order calls on staff at all US ports of entry to “immediately begin detaining shipments containing silica-based products” manufactured by Hoshine and its subsidiaries.
CBP acted in response to what officials said was credible reports of forced labor in the solar supply chain in China’s Xinjiang region. Reports have surfaced in recent days that shipments are being held up in what many believe is the first step in long-term enforcement action.
As CBP gathers more information, it could target other manufacturers and retain more imports. The action is creating “tensions” within the Biden administration, Mojica said.
On the one hand, the president issued statements opposing forced labor in supply chains. On the other hand, it is also pushing for a rapid expansion of green energy resources, including solar power. A White House brief said solar deployment should accelerate at a rate up to four times faster than today in order to meet clean energy targets by 2035.
Trade pressure increased in mid-August after a group of companies asked the US Department of Commerce to impose anti-dumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on a handful of cell and module producers crystalline silicon photovoltaics imported from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. US solar manufacturers against China bypass have filed three petitions through law firm Wiley Rein asking the Department to investigate what it called “unfair commercial imports” from the three countries.
The group said the circumvention of anti-dumping and tariffs on Chinese solar products had “hampered US industry, gutted our supply chains and endangered our clean energy future.”
Sea, rail or air freight
Shibles, who spent 11 years as a CBP lawyer, told the webinar that the detention did not prevent the product from being exported out of the United States. rail or air freight. She said CBP will likely use a wide range of sources to identify potential companies and products, including non-governmental organizations, news articles, the US Department of Labor, as well as international partners.
Nathan Picarsic of Horizon Advisory said the solar industry is “woefully behind” the agriculture and clothing sectors when it comes to preparing for and responding to the application of the WRO.
Companies in other sectors have dedicated teams that monitor and act to mitigate the risks of applying CBP, he said. In contrast, the solar industry has largely had little recognition of similar risk indicators. âReality is embedded in the agriculture and clothing industries,â he said.
The solar industry has made strides since the start of the year to improve supply chain traceability, said Andy Klump of Clean Energy Associates. For example, the Solar Energy Industries Association released a supply chain traceability protocol earlier this year.
And, companies can avoid CBP detention by moving supply chains away from areas of potential conflict.
pv magazine reported on August 18 that JinkoSolar had signed a five-year US $ 1.86 billion (AU $ 2.6 billion) agreement to purchase 70,000 tonnes of polysilicon feedstock for photovoltaic modules from German producer Wacker. Polysilicon manufactured at Wacker’s sites in Germany and the United States will begin supply in September and continue until December 2026.
Mojica said Jinko’s move could be an effective strategy to avoid CBP’s net.
“Suppliers who can provide documents should have no problem” at the border, he said.
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