Nov 11 (Reuters) – More than 1,000 shipments of solar energy components worth hundreds of millions of dollars have piled up at U.S. ports since June under a new law banning imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns about slave labor, according to federal customs officials and industry sources.
The level of seizures, which has not previously been reported, reflects how a policy intended to heap pressure on Beijing over its Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang risks slowing the Biden administration’s efforts to decarbonize the U.S. power sector to fight climate change.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized 1,053 shipments of solar energy equipment between June 21, when the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act went into effect, and Oct. 25, it told Reuters in response to a public records request, adding none of the shipments have yet been released.
The agency would not reveal the manufacturers or confirm details about the quantity of solar equipment in the shipments, citing federal law that protects confidential trade secrets.
Three industry sources with knowledge of the matter, however, told Reuters the detained products include panels and polysilicon cells likely amounting to up to 1 gigawatt of capacity and primarily made by three Chinese manufacturers – Longi Green Energy Technology Co Ltd (601012.SS), Trina Solar Co Ltd (688599.SS) and JinkoSolar Holding Co (JKS.N).
Combined, Longi, Trina and Jinko typically account for up to a third of U.S. panel supplies. But the companies have halted new shipments to the United States over concerns additional cargoes will also be detained, the industry sources said.
The sources asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
China denies abuses in Xinjiang. Beijing initially denied the existence of any detention camps, but then later admitted it had set up “vocational training centers” necessary to curb what it said was terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism in Xinjiang.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told …….